Wednesday, November 10, 2010

US Spies in Sweden?

In a story which ran in the Local  today, American authorities confirmed that they do have a policy of “surveillance” which was recently exposed in Sweden. This statement came in response to Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask’s (Moderates) public contention that the Americans have been spying on Swedish citizens since 2000.  A Swedish prosecutor is looking into the legality of the American surveillance.
The American statement by State Department spokesman Philip Crowley linked the surveillance policy to the terrorist bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and described them as “customary procedure”:

-"We have acknowledged that we have a program around the world where we are
alert for people who may be surveilling our embassies because we recognize that they [the embassies] are potential targets of terrorism”.

Given that Sweden has a large and frequently lawless Muslim immigrant population, and that as we reported previously, many of these immigrants arrive without identifying documents, it would seem prudent on the part of the U.S. embassy, to take counter-terror security and surveillance measures.
In fact, don’t take our word for it—read it on Al-Jazeera.  Only last month two Swedes of Somali origin were arrested in connection with a terror plots linked to Al-Quaeda ally Al-Shabab.  Al-Jazeera is a bit heavy with the quotation marks, but gives the basic story.
In reference to the raised terror alert in the EU which occurred at the same time as the al-Shabab arrests, another source notes the remarks of terrorism expert Magnus Norell of the Swedish Defense Research Agency, “who said he didn't know the details behind the assessment but ‘I don't think it's rocket science to guess that this is about Islamist groups.’"
Given this background, it’s not hard to understand why there would be a bit of American snooping around to protect the embassy personnel and premises. The question is why the Swedes are so indignant about it, especially given the propensity of Swedes to indulge in espionage themselves. In regard to the activities of Swedish diplomats and citizens, we are not talking about security measures; we are talking about actual spying for the KGB and its successor organization in the current regime.

In March of this year, a story broke in the Swedish daily Expressen about a Swedish diplomat who was accused by a former Soviet agent, Sergei Tretyakov, of transferring classified EU documents to the Russians in the late 1990s, apparently in return for compensation. The story also appeared in English in the Local, stating that:
-      “…an investigation was opened against the Swedish diplomat in question but that the case was closed after three months due to a lack of evidence…The diplomat was summoned back to Sweden in 2002 when the suspicions over his actions came to light. He remains employed within the foreign ministry. [all italics mine]
-       According to Tretyakov, the documents provided by the Swedish diplomat…include internal EU communications that diplomats were prohibited from passing on, "especially to the Russians."
We have also documented here and here how Swedes spied for the KGB in the former East Germany, and how Jan Guillou, contributor to the Israel-libelling Social Democrat daily Aftonbladet worked with both the KGB and the PFLP, a terror organization. Information about Swedish involvement with these anti-democratic operations has been largely suppressed in the Swedish mainstream media, and by the authorities. 
Despite their own unsavory record in the world of espionage, the Swedes manage to complain and even attempt to prosecute the U.S. for arguably defensive measures. It’s hard to fault the Americans for conducting basic security surveillance in a country where terrorists find it fairly easy to come and go—and U.S.- and EU-hostile spies are sheltered by the establishment.

The post was written by: Chana Shapira

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