Swedish weapons were used by both sides in the Iraq war, according to around 400,000 classified U.S. files released by WikiLeaks last week. The website’s founder, Julian Assange, who was refused residency in Sweden a few days before, claimed that the “truth” about the war justified WikiLeaks’ action. The 2004-2009 documents show that around 15,000 more civilians were killed than had previously been reported.
Amongst weaponry appearing in the WikiLeaks files are Carl Gustav recoilless anti-tank rifles, plus a variety of ammunition and even some old Swedish sub-machine guns. With about 200 mentions, Saab’s world-renowned AT4 light anti-tank weapon featured most prominently in the files, with the U.S. having purchased more than half a million.
Another disclosure refers to the U.S. launch of a Swedish Excalibur grenade which killed Abu Yasin – an HVT (high-value target) according to the American military – and 17 others in 2007.
Hans Linde, foreign policy spokesman for Sweden’s Left Party, praised WikiLeaks’ revelations. “The systematic abuses in Iraq are extremely outrageous. The responsibility rests heavily on the Iraqi government, but also on the U.S., which sent thousands of detained prisoners to the Iraqi security forces,” he said in a statement.
“WikiLeaks shows that Iraq, as well as the U.S., have clearly violated the UN Convention Against Torture. Sweden should be a country that stands up for human rights, even when they are violated by the U.S. and its allies. Sweden must powerfully condemn this assault,” he added.
Linde described how WikiLeaks had already revealed the shocking extent of violent assaults in Afghanistan, drawing a parallel by adding that a similar cover-up in Iraq had now been exposed with the release of the latest records.
“We now clearly understand the importance of being able to evaluate uncensored information. We cannot omit American military censorship because the Swedish people should be allowed to form an opinion on the war. The world has a right to know what is going on and as such, we welcome WikiLeaks’ revelations,” said Linde.