Updated: 04:04, Thursday February 23, 2012
WikiLeaks aims to release documents revealing that Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is a US spy, as part of a ‘smear campaign’ to stop Sweden from extraditing founder Julian Assange to the United States, a Swedish daily reports.
The whistleblower website has threatened in an internal memo to publish a so far unknown diplomatic cable ‘where Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is shown to have been an informant for the United States since the 1970s,’ the Expressen tabloid reported on Wednesday, saying it had seen the WikiLeaks memo.
Bildt ‘will have to step down. This will be the end of his political career,’ an unnamed person with access to the unpublished diplomatic cable was quoted as saying.
Bildt himself reacted to the report on his official blog Wednesday, challenging WikiLeaks to publish ‘this in their opinion damning report.’
‘When that happens, this part of their planned ‘smear campaign’ will quickly fall to shreds,’ he wrote.
Assange, an Australian, is currently in Britain fighting extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning on rape and sexual assault allegations, and WikiLeaks has long expressed concern that if he is sent to Sweden, Stockholm would quickly send him on to the US.
Washington is eager to lay hands on the WikiLeaks founder after the organisation’s publication of hundreds of thousands of classified US diplomatic files, and according to Expressen the group’s ‘smear campaign’ against Sweden would be aimed at blocking Assange’s further extradition.
‘Julian Assange will most probably be freed from the sex crime suspicions, because that is just a trap,’ the unnamed person with insight into WikiLeaks told Expressen.
‘What Assange is afraid of is that he either will be forced to testify in the trial against the arrested soldier and suspected WikiLeaks source (for the leaked diplomatic cables), or that he himself will be arrested and handed over to a US court to be tried for espionage against the United States,’ he added.
The cable on Bildt reportedly shows that he first became an informant for the United States in 1973 and his original contact was none other than Republican strategist and former president George W Bush’s political guru Karl Rove.
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson would meanwhile only confirm that ‘we have a document that shows the close relationship between Carl Bildt and Washington insiders.’
‘I am sure that this information will soon be available to the public,’ he told Expressen.