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The Secret War Against Sweden


John Simkin
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Has anyone read Ola Tunander's The Secret War Against Sweden: US and British Submarine Deception in the 1980's? This is a brief overview of the book:

Following the stranding of a Soviet Whiskey-class submarine in 1981 on the Swedish archipelago, a series of massive submarine intrusions took place within Swedish waters. However, the evidence for these appears to have been manipulated or simply invented. Classified documents and interviews point to covert Western, rather than Soviet activity. This is backed up by former US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who stated that Western 'testing' operations were carried out regularly in Swedish waters. Royal Navy submarine captains have also admitted to top-secret operations. Ola Tunander's revelations make it clear that the United States and Britain ran a 'secret war' in Swedish waters. The number of Swedes perceiving the Soviet Union as a direct threat increased from 5-10 per cent in 1980 to 45 per cent in 1983. This Anglo-American 'secret war' was aimed at exerting political influence over Sweden. It was a risky enterprise, but perhaps the most successful covert operation of the entire Cold War.

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Funnily enough, I listened to an interview today with the Swedish naval officer who was first aboard the Soviet submarine. The Soviets and the Swedes had to communicate in German, and the first question from the Soviets was "Wo sind wir?" (Where are we?). They might have been bluffing, but there's at least a chance the Soviet story of poor navigation was right.

The Swedes have been cooperating with NATO for a very long time, though. The Swedish DC3 which was shot down (in 1952?) by a Soviet MiG was carrying out an intelligence mission for the British and the Americans (which is why the Soviets shot it down), but under the cover of Swedish neutrality.

Sweden was a very Germanic country through most of the 19th and some of the 20th centuries. The first foreign language was German, and the Swedish upper classes always looked to Germany for inspiration. This came to an abrupt end on May 8th 1945! However, the upper classes in Sweden have always been a problem for democratically-elected Swedish governments. Per-Albin Hansson's (the wartime Swedish Prime Minister) great feat during WW2 was preventing the Army from intervening … on the side of the Germans (with support from the then King of Sweden). As I've posted before, I've met quite a few old men who have told me how their unit in the army up on one of the borders nominated someone to shoot the officer in the event of a German invasion, so that he wouldn't just surrender.

In Värmland there were many refugees from occupied Norway who were just handed back to the Germans by the local police (because of local Nazi sympathies).

This habit of subverting the will of the elected government has continued right up to the present day …

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When I saw this thread, I thought it might be about the Assassinatin of Olav Palme, which was connected to Iran-Contra and guess who was behind that....!? While there were Swedes involved for sure, the patsy was not the real assassin [sound familiar?]. Palme was about to expose what would have been the first mention publicly of what came to be known as Iran-Contra.

Did you know that Olav Palme worked as a CIA asset after the war? I will post details later.

Funnily enough, I listened to an interview today with the Swedish naval officer who was first aboard the Soviet submarine. The Soviets and the Swedes had to communicate in German, and the first question from the Soviets was "Wo sind wir?" (Where are we?). They might have been bluffing, but there's at least a chance the Soviet story of poor navigation was right.

I am in contact with Ola Tunander (we are both giving talks at a conference in Italy next year). Would you be willing to discuss The Secret War Against Sweden with Ola on the book section of the forum?

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I'd be happy to participate in a discussion … but I'm going to have to read the book first! I'll ask at our local library (it'd be good to read it in Swedish first).

One of my standard questions to students on a US Culture and Society course is "which political party in Sweden is most influenced by the USA?" It'd be easy to assume that it must be one of the right-wing parties, but, for my money, they're much more influenced by Germany. My answer is "the Social Democrats". If you look around in Sweden, they tried to create a very 'American' society after the war - in the best senses of the word. I.e. a society where class differences don't matter, and where anyone can be Prime Minister! Whether they succeeded is another question!

So … it wouldn't surprise me at all if Palme had CIA links. The Social Democrats were fanatical anti-Communists through the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and set up all sorts of McCarthy-ite mechanisms to 'root out Communists'. Palme was one of the prime instigators of the principal one, the IB, which was exposed by two journalists in the 1970s, both of whom were sent briefly to prison for their revelations.

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So … it wouldn't surprise me at all if Palme had CIA links. The Social Democrats were fanatical anti-Communists through the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and set up all sorts of McCarthy-ite mechanisms to 'root out Communists'. Palme was one of the prime instigators of the principal one, the IB, which was exposed by two journalists in the 1970s, both of whom were sent briefly to prison for their revelations.

The information about Palme comes from the book, Widows: The Explosive Truth Behind 25 Years of Western Intelligence Disasters (William Corson, Susan Trento and Joseph Trento).

It relates to an incident in June, 1959, when a senior officer in Soviet intelligence, Nikolay Fedorovich Artamonov, sought political asylum in Sweden. James Jesus Angleton of the CIA feared that the Swedish government might hand him back to the Soviet Union. Angleton was convinced that Artamonov had important information. Recently declassified documents show that CIA director of the CIA, Allen Dulles, sent a cable to Palme, who at that time was an assistant to Tage Erlander, the prime minister of Sweden. According to the authors of the book, the contents of the cable show that Palme was on the CIA payroll. The problem was that this cable was intercepted by the Soviets. Palme did has he was told and arranged for Artamonov to be fast-tracked to the United States.

Artamonov later escaped back to the Soviet Union. He was in fact a disinformation agent sent to the west to damage western intelligence. It is also possible that he arrived via Sweden in order to discover who the CIA contact was within the Swedish government. If that was the case, it was a highly successful operation.

The subject of the CIA funding left of centre political parties is a fascinating one. It started in the late 1940s and was an attempt to move socialist parties to the right. The British Labour Party was an obvious target and money can be traced to several politicians and trade union officials who later became senior figures in the movement. This money was targeted at people identified as future leaders. Palme fits into this category. The CIA also used their influence over the media (Operation Mockingbird) to make sure their sponsored politician got an easy ride on the way to the top.

I am pretty sure this still goes on today. I suspect that Tony Blair has been under the influence of the CIA since joining the opposition front bench in 1984. He definitely had a lot of free trips to the United States during this period. So of course did Gordon Brown and Peter Mandleson.

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