Reinfeldt’s statement: published, redacted – and then unredacted. Why?

In February this year, Fredrik Reinfeldt, Sweden’s Prime Minister, caused quite in stir with the following statement:

“- Det är beklagligt. Vi har ett självständigt rättsväsende som i det här fallet dessutom agerat på svensk lagstiftning. Man har till allmänt åtal instämt Julian Assange för anklagelser om våldtäkt.

– Jag kan bara beklaga att kvinnors rätt och ställning väger så lätt när det gäller den här typen av frågor jämfört med andra typer av teorier som förs fram. Jag kan bara försvara det faktum som alla i Sverige känner till, nämligen att vi har ett självständigt, ickestyrt rättsväsende.”

Translation:

-It is regrettable. We have an independent system of justice which, in this case, has also acted according to Swedish law. One has to public prosecution called upon* Julian Assange for allegations regarding rape.

-I can only regret that women’s rights and position weigh so lightly when it comes to this type of questions compared to other types of theories brought forward. I can only defend the fact which everybody in Sweden is aware of, i.e., that we have an independent system of justice.”

(* see translator’s note at the end of this blog entry.)

Screendump from an article containing the statement as published in  DN can be found below. Please note the date and time of publication: early afternoon, February 11, 2011. According to the article, the citation is from an interview which took place on February 8, 2011, i.e., the second day of the Belmarsh extradition hearing.

It is highly probable that Reinfeldt regrets this statement. First, because it contains a factual error: Julian Assange has not been charged with anything yet and no decision on prosecution has been taken. Second, a minister speaking his mind in an individual case is a big no-no. In any case, this is a typical statement running the risk of being manipulated or eradicated from history and for this reason I decided to check if it had been removed from the main stream media web or manipulated in some other way. The short story is that the statement is still present on all the main Swedish newspaper sites in (what I believe is) its correct form. But there is also a slightly longer story. It turns out that the statement was manipulated shortly after publication and the publication date of the statement has been changed.

The magazine Resumé describes that the critical sentence (“Man har till allmänt åtal instämt Julian Assange för anklagelser om våldtäkt.”) was removed from several news sites shortly after publication. Further, according to the Resumé article, Reinfeldt’s statement has been reported to “Konstitutionsutskottet”.

Screendump from Resumé:

Göran Rudling, who was in London at the time, wrote an entry on his blog “samtycke.nu” where it seems that he first got second-hand information about the original, full, statement. But then, when he could read it himself (in Expressen), he could only see the redacted form. The critical sentence is not present in the blog entry (only in one of the comments).

Translation:

A few hours ago I was sitting in a taxi on my way to the Belmarsh court together with Sven Erik Alhem and some English lawyers when my mobile phone rang and an English lawyer in an excited voice shouted that Fredrik Reinfeldt had said that Julian Assange had been charged with rape. Sven Erik and I looked at each other with enormous surprise. Something must be completely wrong. It is inconceivable that the Prime Minister would be the one to communicate such a decision. We really do have independent courts [in Sweden] even if many people these days try to make us believe that Sweden in reality is just a “banana republic” routinely sending people off to the USA.

Before we had a chance to check the story, more lawyers were contacted and informed about the decision to charge Assange. It was not until Sven Erik calmly read the communication from TT that we understood that there had been some mistake in the translation, which had given the impression that Julian Assange had been charged. But for a short while I and Sven Erik experienced how quickly a small translational error could cause an enormous misunderstanding and cause rumors to spread.

Göran Rudling posted the blog entry on February 9, but in the main Swedish newspapers the articles I manage to find using google with Reinfeldt’s statement are dated February 11. Aftonbladet is a notable exception with their article dated Februray 8, 2011. I also find the correct date in several news databases and blogs, many citing that the information came from Expressen. However,  if one follows the Expressen links only the redacted text is found. The original TT text (linked to in the Resumé articlce) is gone. The Belmarsh court hearings started on February 7 and ended on February 11, 2011.

Draw your own conclusions.

Translator’s note:

*”instämt” is here translated as “called upon”. If this is incorrect, please correct me. In fact, I have not been able to find this word anywhere else than in Reinfeldt’s statement. In the comment section of Rudling’s blog entry, one person comments that not even law professionals use this word anymore. In any case, it seems clear that most people interpret the meaning in the way I have translated it.

Edit: “instämt” can also be translated as “summoned”. (thanks rixstep)

Edit: Unconfirmed rumors have it that Konstitutionsutskottet (KU) never dealt with the report because nobody was willing to pursue the case. (thanks FB)

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Famous fake pictures

 Women mysteriously disappearing, faulty missiles flying and odd shadows in North Korea. Here are some famous fake pictures, discussed in SvD today. Explanations in English below.

Kända falska bilder, SvD

Picture 1: The picture of a dead Usama Bin Ladin (left) spread by Pakistani media chocked the world. The picture to the right, taken 1998 in Afghanistan, has probably been used to make  the picture to the left.

Picture  2: The Israeli newspaper Yated Neeman seems to be not too fond of women politicians and removed Limor Livnat and Sofa Landver from this photo of the Israeli government taken 2009.

Pictures 3 and 4: BP oil leak crisis center control room with and without all screens working.

Pictures 5 and 6: Iran shooting off four Shahab-3-missiles, or was it only three?

Pictures 7 and 8: Photo of American Civil War generals. To the far right sits General Francis P. Blair. He was not present on the original picture, but added afterwards.

Pictures 9 and 10: Did Barack Obama follow Hosni Mubarak or did in fact Hosni Mubarak follow after everybody else? The Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram put their leader first in the pack, but forgot the shadow.

Picture 11. North Korea’s Kim Jong-il is so powerful and fantastic that his shadow falls in a unique way and concrete surfaces change their appearance is his vicinity.

Pictures 12 and 13: Hm, I can’t see the manipulation. Can you?

Pictures 14 and 15: Microsoft commercial with employee changing skin color.

And, finally, here we have a recent case of Hillary Clinton suddenly going missing.

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Controling the past in Dagens Nyheter

I will now tell you a story of how Swedish newspapers attempt to control the past regarding what the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny has said and not said. Perhaps she never said anything actually? Perhaps she doesn’t even exist? Perhaps she’s just a bad dream and we all woke up at some point after March 9, 2011.

Dagens Nyheter, or DN for short, is the biggest newspaper in Sweden. Its main competitor is Svenska Dagbladet (SvD). Both are considered serious newspapers (as opposed to the more tabloid-like Aftonbladet and Expressen). For example, the daily debate article in DN is regarded as an obligatory read by many Swedes.

This story begins with me trying to find out what Marianne Ny had actually said regarding the possibilities of questioning Julian Assange in the UK. She had said something about some law not permitting her to do this for some reason, but what was it exactly? And when did she say this?

A search on “Marianne Ny” at DN.se gave 37 hits, and the article published on December 4, 2010  entitled “Assange vågar inte åka till Sverige” seemed particularly interesting. Actually, the excerpt displayed in the search results contained the information I was looking for:

“Åklagaren Marianne Ny kommenterar att svensk och brittisk lag hindrar henne från att resa till London för att träffa Assange” (translation: The prosecutor Marianne Ny comments that Swedish and British law do not permit her to go to London to see Assange.)

Screen dump from DN search:

But in the article linked to the search result, this text was nowhere to be found. In fact, the link redirected to another article with the same title, published on December 5, 2010.

I decided to google the whole phrase and got hits with live links for several other Swedish newspapers: SvD, Göteborgsposten, Norrköpings Tidningar, Sydsvenskan, Dagen, Västerbottens-Kuriren, and Privata Affärer. But, notably, not Dagens Nyheter. We may also observe here that neither Aftonbladet, nor Expressen turned up in the search. Perhaps they chose to not publish at all in the first place, or they too have removed the article.

Screen dump from SvD:

Further work (by other people) revealed that also Dalarnas Tidning has removed their article on the subject. It is still visible however in google cache, dated March 9, 2011. My guess is that up until about that time, the article existed also in DN, but I have no proof.

Screen dump from DT, google cache (two parts):

My questions:

  • Why do major Swedish newspapers feel the need to remove a published article containing the phrase “Åklagaren Marianne Ny kommenterar att svensk och brittisk lag hindrar henne från att resa till London för att träffa Assange”?
  • Why was the article removed after several months?
  • And why was the publishing date in DN manipulated (in a cunning google-cache-outsmarting way too, by redirecting the link)?

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The Guardian comment section experience

Newspapers changing the usernames of commenters? What is going on?

Source: wlcentral

The comment ends with: “Obviously I have no way of alerting other Guardian readers/general public that the Guardian is at “legal risk” from the free flow of information in the Assange extradition case as my post will be immediately removed.”

What possible “legal risks” can come from this blog? I’d really like to know.

Have you had a similar experience?

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Assange speech at Oslo Freedom Forum, April 2010

It is obvious that many standard news outlets provide misleading and skewed  information. The existence of secret gag orders, however, was unknown to me until i saw this speech from the Oslo Freedom Forum 2010.

What about you?

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