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WikiLeaks on SIF ban: ‘How can you exclude Snowden from internet freedom debate?’

Published time: May 28, 2014 20:08

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Sweden, which blacklisted Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks from the Stockholm Internet Forum (SIF), plays the role of a US “lapdog” and does not want anyone to speak out against the American government or its agencies, a WikiLeaks spokesperson told RT.

Banning leading whistleblowers from the conference undermines its whole concept, WikiLeaks spokesperson and investigative journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson said.

How can you exclude WikiLeaks? How can you exclude Edward Snowden? How can you exclude discussing the explosive revelations by these important whistleblowers that have stepped forward in the last few years, totally changing the entire perception of the internet and raising serious questions of the future of the internet? If you want to discuss internet freedom you have to have these elements there,” he said.

The third annual European conference, SIF, opened on Monday in the Swedish capital, where internet activists gathered to have their say on this year’s topic: “Internet – privacy, transparency, surveillance and control.”

The forum, organized by the Swedish Foreign Ministry, claims that “freedom and openness” are among its “key concepts.”

However, those concepts seem to have their limits, as major internet rights advocates who opened the public's eyes on the scale of internet spaying were actually banned from attending the gathering. Among those who failed to receive an invite were former CIA employee Snowden (who revealed the NSA's mass spying program), journalist Glenn Greenwald (who broke the story), representatives of WikiLeaks, and hacker Jacob Appelbaum.

The move caused a storm of criticism on Twitter, and many participants of the forum aimed to get a clear answer from organizers as to why the most prominent defenders of internet privacy were not invited.

According to German magazine Cicero Online, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said earlier in a comment that a key ambition of the conference was to have an equal number of male and female invitees and that at least a half of them had to be from developing countries.

We’ve seen it as important to not to look into the whistleblowing process as such or to revelations as such. What we believe we should do is to discuss how we can find solutions in order to protect human rights in an environment where surveillance is a reality,” Olof Ehrenkrona, advisor to the Swedish foreign minister, said at the event.

Hrafnsson called the excuse “not very credible.”

I mean how you can discuss the problems of the internet and the dangers of mass surveillance there without analyzing the problem and actually inviting the people who are experts in the field?” the WikiLeaks spokesperson said.

This is a forum that is sponsored by the Foreign Ministry of Sweden and Carl Bildt, the foreign minister. We have known ever since 2011-2012 that they were not interested to have any elements there critical of the US government and the activities of the US agencies. We were blacklisted - I mean WikiLeaks and people associated with WikiLeaks - back in 2012. And they have a blacklist now. They deny it and actually humorously claim that they don’t have a blacklist, that they only have a list of people that [were] invited and a list of people who they have not invited. But that is a blacklist and that has been confirmed.”

Cicero magazine published what it claims to be an earlier correspondence between WikiLeaks and the SIF organizers, where the Foreign Ministry allegedly explains why the organization could not be present.

According to published e-mails, the ministry said that “there is a limit to how many participants we were able invite to the Stockholm Internet Forum, which ultimately depends on the size of the conference room...thus only selected participants could be invited.”

Hrafnsson said the decision did not surprise him.

If you look at the revelations both by WikiLeaks and by Edward Snowden, you see the role that Sweden plays behind this façade of neutrality. Basically they are lapdogs of the US government,” he said.

However, the WikiLeaks spokesman still believes that “we are going to see more whistleblowers and we are going to see more revelations about the internet” in the future.

Comments (20)


WD Fusroy 29.05.2014 18:30

It's also very hard not to wonder what role the Swedish Foreign Ministry played in the sudden discovery by two clearly blackmailed women, years after the events in question, that they had been "raped" by Julian Assange. And now, of course, Mr. Assange is still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for fear of what the same duplicitous Swedish foreign ministry hacks will do to him should he be foolish enough to return to Sweden to fight these ridiculous rape charges against him instigated by the American overlords of the Swedish slimeballs in government offices in order to get them to extradite Assange.


WD Fusroy 29.05.2014 18:05

Way to go Swedish Foreign Ministry!!

Now all you have to do is wait a couple three DECADES to pass until the rest of the world quits laughing at both your blacklist of by far the most important and salient experts on internet security and at your ludicrous casusitry in attempting to justify your repugnant censorship! I especially like the argument that you need to have a PC "balance between the genders" even though in this case the 2 main protagonists happen to be men. You might at least have tried to cover such pathetic excuses for denying Snowden & Greenwald invites by inviting a woman; say like Laura Poitras!!


Lentulus Batiatus 29.05.2014 08:55

US “lapdog” = Sweden, you won’t find a bigger one out there. That is the result of our treaty with the US/NATO to clean up their mess, after they start wars and displace ppl. That is why we see ppl vote SD these days. If the foreign ministry is the host of this particular forum, the participants has not recognized Sweden for what it is. The eyes and ears for all spying for the US in Scandinavia. Everyone lets them spy on your country. You just have to look at Germany to get this little message. The US got govs in their lap, especially the European nations. US spy for your country. This is a newsflash.

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