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Neutral Sweden's Not So Neutral CIA Flights

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STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) — The official government investigation into the CIA flights through Swedish airports was led by the head of one of the airports involved in the flights. The investigation failed to reach any real conclusions, and the four year long affair was blamed on the assassinated Anna Lindh - this according to a report by Ola Jordán and Kenneth Rasmusson.

Being a peace loving neutral country sounds great but it has its drawbacks. Even the Swedes couldn't scrap the idea of department of defence. The trick is where you get those fancy weapons systems you don't ever want to use.

The actual manufacture of such weapons systems isn't the rough part, with a legacy that includes Alfred Nobel and Bofors. The rough part is financing them.

So neutral Sweden acquired one of the biggest defence systems in use by 'neutral countries' and financed it all by selling their systems to other countries.

There's been only one hitch: Sweden couldn't be seen selling arms to a country at war. This isn't a token of innocent peaceful sentiments - this is merely a strategic decision so as to not get the country involved in anyone else's conflict.

There's enough hypocrisy in Sweden's weapons policies to go around for everyone.

Biased Investigation of CIA Flights
By Ola Jordán and Kenneth Rasmusson. Published 2012-01-17.

In 2005 the Swedish social democratic government tasked the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration and the Swedish Civil Aviation Authority with swiftly investigating the stories in the media that the CIA had on several occasions chartered airplanes and trafficked Swedish airports from 2002 to 2005. Demand for an investigation was heard in the political opposition, both to the left and the right on the political scale.

The matter was political dynamite, not in the least because of a programme on Swedish TV 4 from 17 May 2004 which reported that on 18 December 2001 a CIA plane at the Bromma airport outside Stockholm transported Mohammad el Zary and Ahmed Agiza to Egypt in clear violation of the UN convention on torture and several other conventions and laws.

The Swedish wire service TT revealed in November 2005 that a suspected CIA plane with registration number N50BH stopped off in June 2002 at both Arlanda airport and Örebro airport before continuing to the US military base at Keflavik Iceland.

Prime minister Göran Persson, with the support of Swedish agencies, corroborated that airplanes sometimes used by the CIA had in fact trafficked Swedish airports in the years 2002, 2004, and 2005.

A report from the Majorca Guardia Civil dated 23 March 2005 documents a CIA airplane with registration number N313P and a crew of 13 arriving at Örebro airport on 12 March 2004.

But when the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration and the Swedish Civil Aviation Authority presented their findings in a partial report dated 7 December 2005, they stated it's not possible to 'draw any conclusions that the flights were carried out as assignments of the CIA'. Such is also the finding of their final report dated 15 December 2005.

What Swedish media have so far failed to bring to light is that Anders Lundblad, today the public relations officer of the Swedish Transport Authority but in 2005 the public relations director for the Swedish Civil Aviation Authority (in a key position within the agency tasked with investigating the CIA flights) was CEO and location manager of the Örebro airport when the CIA airplanes N50BH and N313P landed there.

We regard it as out of the question that Anders Lundblad wouldn't have known what airplanes were trafficking his airport at the time he was the airport's chief executive officer and location manager.

A TT interview with Lundblad from 17 November 2005 makes it clear he was aware 'suspected' CIA planes were landing at his airport at that time:

Lundblad, who was location manager of Örebro airport at the same time one of the suspected CIA planes landed there in 2002, doesn't believe it's possible to learn any more about the flight.

Lundblad: 'Most often you don't get any more information than that. But there might be a bit more attention given to a plane coming from outside the EU and Schengen.'

TT: 'Will you make this information public?'

Lundblad: 'You'll have to ask the government about that. It's not certain they'll do that because travel routes are themselves bound by secrecy.'

We need to ask some important questions.

√ Why didn't the report from the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration and Swedish Civil Aviation Authority even mention the report from the Majorca Guardia Civil?

√ What were the assignments of the CIA flights that trafficked Swedish airports?

√ To clarify the extent of this traffic (which might be ongoing even today) it's necessary to reinvestigate the entire affair - this time preferably by a nonpartisan commission free from all influence by governmental agencies.

The decision to allow the CIA to traffic the airports of neutral Sweden would have to have been taken by the entire social democratic cabinet of Göran Persson with justice minister Thomas Bodström being the key voice. That there have been many attempts (by Bodström amongst others) to blame the affair on Anna Lindh is probably a tack to deflect inquiry and criticism.

This is the end of the innocence.
 - Don Henley

See Also
Sweden: The End of the Neutrality
Sweden: The End of the Innocence

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