Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Former Bush White House strategist Karl Rove likely is playing a leading role in the effort to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a source with ties to the justice community tells Legal Schnauzer.
Assange was arrested last week in London for alleged sex crimes in Sweden. A lawyer for Assange said Monday that the arrest was a ruse designed to give the United States more time to build a case against Assange on other charges. The lawyer said a grand jury is being prepared in Washington, D.C., to look into WikiLeaks’ activities. Meanwhile, Assange has a court date today in the UK, where he is expected to seek a release on bail.
That Assange’s legal troubles would originate in Sweden probably is not a coincidence, our source says. Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has been called “the Ronald Reagan of Europe,” and he has a friendship with Rove that dates back at least 10 years, to the George W. Bush campaign for president in 2000. Reinfeldt reportedly asked Rove to help with his 2010 re-election in Sweden.
On the hot seat for his apparent role in the political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, Rove sought comfort in Sweden. “When [Rove] was in trouble and did not want to testify on the three times he was invited [by the U.S. Congress], he wound up in Sweden,” our source says. “Further, it was [Reinfeldt] that first hired Karl when he got thrown out of the White House.
“Clearly, it appears that [Rove], who claims to be of Swedish descent, feels a kinship to Sweden . . . and he has taken advantage of it several times.”
Why would Rove be interested in corralling Julian Assange? To help protect the Bush legacy, our source says. “The very guy who has released the documents that damage the Bushes the most is also the guy that the Bush’s number one operative can control by being the Swedish prime minister’s brain and intelligence and economic advisor.”
Could Rove also be trying to protect himself? What if WikiLeaks has documents–or Rove thinks it could get documents–that prove “Turd Blossom’s” role in criminal activity during the Bush years? What if someone with a conscience from the Bush administration–if such a person exists–provided WikiLeaks with documents that show Rove’s role in political prosecutions, the unlawful firings of U.S. attorneys, and more? Could Rove be trying to save his own doughy butt?
Reporting from Amy Goodman, of Democracy Now!, lends support to our source’s insights about Rove and Sweden. In a piece from December 2008, “Karl Rove in Sweden,” Goodman wrote about the ties between “Bush’s Brain” and Reinfeldt. This was just a few weeks after Barack Obama had won the presidential election in the United States:
Traditional Swedish politics also are in flux. Brian Palmer is an American, a former Harvard lecturer, who has immigrated to Sweden and become a Swedish citizen. Palmer has penned a biography of Sweden’s prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt. Palmer credits Reinfeldt, 43, with leading the shift away from the progressive social policies for which Sweden has become world-famous. He said Reinfeldt, in 1993, “wrote a book, ‘The Sleeping People,’ where he said that the welfare state should only prevent starvation, nothing beyond that. After being elected … one of his first major visits abroad was to George Bush in the White House.”
Reinfeldt and his Moderate Party hired Karl Rove as a political consultant to help with the election coming in 2010. Palmer went on: “We have a real kind of silent war on the labor movement. We have a rather dramatic change in the tax system, abolishing the inheritance tax and most property taxes, cutbacks in social-welfare institutions.” This week, a new coalition of center-left political parties formed to challenge this rightward drift.
The U.S. electorate has thoroughly rebuked the Bush administration, handing Barack Obama and the Democrats a mandate for change on issues of war and health care, among others. One of the world’s leading laboratories for innovative social policies, Sweden is now wrestling with its own future. Those seeking change in the U.S. would be wise to watch Sweden, beyond Nobel week.
In December 2009, Goodman conducted an interview with Brian Palmer, Reinfeldt’s biographer:
AMY GOODMAN: Brian Palmer, talk about the shift that’s going on in politics here—you’ve written a biography of the current prime minister—and how this fits in with the story we just talked about, the story of Alfred Nobel, both the Peace Prizes and his founding of, really, the weapons industry in this country.
BRIAN PALMER: One can begin by saying that the reasons for Sweden’s reputation as a progressive paradise, the strongest labor movement in the world with 87 percent of workers unionized, creating over many decades the strongest welfare state, the one that on the UN Human Poverty Index has the least poverty in the world. And then, what we’ve seen over the last twenty years, but particularly since the 2006 election, is a move away from all of that.
We have a prime minister who in the 1990s wrote a book, The Sleeping People, where he said that the welfare state should only prevent starvation, nothing beyond that, no other standard should be guaranteed. After being elected, Fredrik Reinfeldt, one of his first major visits abroad was to George Bush in the White House, this in spite of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, a visit that many people thought shouldn’t have happened, his coalition then getting—bringing over Karl Rove for advice and support—Karl Rove, the architect of President Bush’s electoral victories.
AMY GOODMAN: They brought Karl Rove here?
BRIAN PALMER: This past summer.
AMY GOODMAN: Because?
BRIAN PALMER: Because he can offer good advice on how to win the 2010 election. And—
AMY GOODMAN: Is this unusual for Karl Rove to do this kind of international consulting?
BRIAN PALMER: According to his website, it’s his only foreign consulting, for the Moderate Party of Sweden.
AMY GOODMAN: Wasn’t the current prime minister visiting Bush in the White House?
BRIAN PALMER: Yeah, and there was much—many people writing that this shouldn’t happen. He justified the visit, that he would persuade Bush to sign the Kyoto Accord, but people who were there say that he didn’t even really attempt that.