Today the Huffington Post, the flagship of the American liberal left, has an article claiming that Karl Rove had Sweden arrest Julian Assange.
It is clearly written by someone who understands little about Sweden:
1. The article claims that Karl Rove is a paid advisor to Fredrik Reinfeldt. This is simply not true.
Karl Roves involvement with the Swedish Conservative happened in the beginning of the 1980s, when Fredrik Reinfeldt was a teenager. Rove visited Sweden a couple of days to teach them about fundraising. This is according to Aftonbladet, Sweden’s largest anti-Reinfeldt paper.
Karl Rove also traveled to the Swedish vacation island of Gotland a couple of days in 2008 as a publicity stunt of the Swedish right-libertarians (Timbro). In fact, I was in the audience and chatted with Rove for a few minutes. However Fredrik Reinfeldt had absolutely nothing to do with this, and was not even present at the conference.
This trip appears to be the height of Karl Rove’s connection with Fredrik Reinfeldt!
If Rove has been an advisor to Reinfeldt, that would be huge news in Sweden. So where are links to the legitimate news stories? The “source” for the Huffington post is instead speculation from some paranoid Swedish leftist blogger.
2. The Huffington post gives their readers the impression that Reinfeldt is some sort of Swedish Republican, or at least very Republican friendly (which would make cooperation with Karl Rove realistic). This is an ignorant claim.
Reinfeldt is popular because he took the Swedish conservative party to the left, even changing the name to the “The New Moderates”. He famously cleansed the party of the right, abandoned the opposition to the welfare state, and changed its policy platform and rhetoric to the center (and obviously the center in Sweden is to the left of the center in the U.S).
The Huffington post is correct that Reinfeldt wrote a book criticizing the Swedish welfare state. However they neglect to tell their readers that he did this when he was 28, and that Reinfeldt repudiated his positions when he years later came to power .
4. Reinfeldt has always presented himself as a fan of President Obama, perhaps partially because Fredrik Reinfeldt himself has some black American ancestry, which he likes to point out.
When asked directly on TV before the 2008 election who he would prefer as the president of the United States, Reinfeldt alone of the seven Swedish party leaders said Barrack Obama. Everyone else prefered Hillary (naturally McCain got zero votes).
That Reinfeldt would prefer the Democrats is just logical, since Swedes both on the right and the left love Barrack Obama and hate George W Bush. Swedes are not only economically left, they are ultra-secular as well as pacifist.
When the Swedish public was polled in 2008 about Obama vs. McCain, the two party divide was 91% Obama vs. 9% McCain. Does that sound like a country where Karl Rove has a lot of influence over the judiciary?
5. The women who accuse Assange of rape are both anti-American, feminist activists. That’s how Assange met them.
I suppose it is theoretically possible for Karl Rove (directly or through Reinfeldt) to bribe two socialist Swedish girls to seduce Assange. But is that a realistic theory? Does Karl Rove control a privately owned espionage agency which has more reach than the CIA? For example, what if one of the leftist women Karl Rove approached would have chosen to reveal the operation instead?
So, where exactly is the E V I DE N C E for The Huffington Post's unlikely theory?
You still need evidence to make extraordinary claims, right?
If the Huffington Post has this evidence, I for one would love to read it. If they don’t, it’s a useful story to keep in mind the next time the Huffington Post decides to write about “The Paranoid Right” or about the “the paranoid, conspiracy-laden, resentful, self-hating troglodytes that form the foundation of the modern GOP”.
Picture from Sweden 2008, Almedalen Gotland (I am the second person from the left).