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NATO membership will harm Swedish international image and cause economic losses

The country may see a decrease in its exports if confirmed its adhesion to NATO

By Lucas Leiroz | September 16, 2022

Having military strength is an important issue for any country in the world. However, some states benefit from the image of “peaceful countries” and “neutral nations”. This is precisely the Swedish case. Decades ago, Sweden began to invest in a security policy based on absolute neutrality. Its image before international partners is seen as that of a country that does not get involved in conflicts and cares abut peace. Therefore, changing this stance with a possible NATO membership could have a strong impact on Swedish foreign policy.

One of the direct and immediate impacts would be on the economic issue. The Scandinavian country may suffer losses in its exports due to the possible NATO membership. Some countries that currently import products from – or export to – Sweden would certainly consider it problematic after the accession to the alliance, which would lead them to seek other trading partners. The Swedes would begin to deal with a reality that is common to every country that invests in becoming a military power: facing boycotts and restrictions in negotiations with countries with different interests.

In this sense, Per Högselius, professor of history of technology at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), comments that the Swedish state is very sensitive to world changes and depends on a stable scenario to keep its economic and industrial structure solid and strong. One of the points that most benefits the country allowing it to remain free of problems concerning the international scenario is precisely its image of a small and unarmed state – which will surely change now.

“Swedish industry has often benefited from the fact that Sweden has enjoyed an image abroad as a small, harmless country with good relations with in principle all other countries (…) Sweden is extremely sensitive to events in the outside world, and much more so today than in the 1970s”, Högselius said.

In fact, many problems for the national industry may arise after the confirmation of Sweden’s entry into NATO. The country’s main exports are focused on machinery, transport equipment and chemical products. Interestingly, these three sectors account for the majority of Swedish exports to China. In a scenario with increasing tensions between China and NATO, with the alliance considering the Asian country one of its main threats, it is possible to predict that Beijing, despite being quite pragmatic, may try to seek other partners to obtain some of the products it currently imports from Sweden.

When we analyze the European scenario, many things can get worse too. In a future eventual situation of pacification of the conflict in Ukraine and normalization of relations with Russia, Sweden will be unable to reverse the path that is being taken now, if its entry into NATO is really consolidated. The Scandinavian country will be viewed with suspicion by the Russians, who will place limits on bilateral cooperation – which will take Sweden off an important trade route for iron, steel, fertilizers, among other essential products. In other words, decisions taken against Russia now could seriously affect business in the future.

Furthermore, Swedish diplomacy itself would be destabilized by joining NATO. This entry would be the immediate reversal of decades of work built by Swedish strategists to transform the country into a militarily neutral and economically developed pole. Foreign policy focused on neutrality and peace would be replaced by a program of military objectives unilaterally instituted by the alliance. In practice, all countries that currently see Sweden as a non-ideological and geopolitically harmless partner would act more cautiously during negotiations with the Swedes as they would also be negotiating with a new representative of the largest military alliance on the planet.

The most interesting thing is to note how the possible accession, in addition to such economic losses, will bring few real strategic benefits to Sweden. As established by the regulations, the country will commit to militarily assist any other member state of the alliance in the event of an attack. But in exchange for such a commitment, little is offered to the Swedes. In fact, Sweden will remain a militarily weak country, but with many more international enemies than it has today.

Unfortunately, however, the Western-supported anti-Russian paranoia seems to have overcome the strategic sense of Swedish decision-makers, in addition to scaring the local population. Currently, almost all parties are support joining NATO, as do 58% of the population. It is very likely that the process will be completed at some point in the near future and the country will take this extremely negative step for its own interests.

Considering that Sweden is already going through an internal political crisis, with PM Magdalena Andersson having announced that she will resign after the defeat of her supporters in the parliamentary elections, the near future will be tense for the country. The next Swedish government will deal with strong popular and parliamentary pressure, in addition to excessive obligations in NATO, while the country will continue to be militarily weak, but it will lose its neutrality status, bringing impacts in all areas of its foreign policy.

Lucas Leiroz is a researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.

September 16, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Sweden’s Psychological Defense Agency: Good disinformation is “basically true”

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim The Net | September 6, 2022

There is no doubt that Russia, like any other major – and minor – power uses some form of propaganda and disinformation to further its goals, especially in wartime.

What’s difficult to gauge, at least at this time, is how applicable that may be in the current crisis: is Russia really trying to “exploit polarization and sow division,” in countries like Sweden, for example?

But what the fear of Russian disinformation – or apparent fear of it – has clearly managed is to make some state bodies, like Sweden’s Psychological Defense Agency, part ways with basic logic – and not be afraid to admit it to the world.

Hence, some of what is labeled as “disinformation” by this agency whose goal is to bolster the Swedes’ “moral fortitude” includes information that “is actually not false” and is even, “basically true.”

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength,” Orwell wrote.

Psychological Defense Agency head Henrik Landerholm, meanwhile, has as recently as last week been quoted by The Times as coming up with this:

“Good disinformation is actually not false. Good disinformation is basically true and only somewhat tweaked.”

Any arbiter of “good and bad disinformation” operating on such nuance is entering the dangerous territory of becoming the judge and jury of truth, and producing bias that can be used and abused beyond any one crisis and political circumstance.

And it soon becomes clear that the Times piece – even though putting “highly clickable” terms like “Russian” and “disinformation” right in the headline – actually has to do with Sweden’s internal politics and a looming election.

The premise with Sweden is that the society is “plagued by polarization and mistrust.” It has nothing to do with policy on Russia or the war – it’s that the Swedes are apparently fed up with rising crime, and unhappy with the authorities’ policy on immigration.

The “theory” here is that Russians, even if ostensibly quite busy elsewhere, will dedicate resources to exploit what already exists in Swedish society – namely, divisions over these burning issues.

Reuters decides to make it seem Russia is interested in making Sweden Democrats the second biggest party in parliament – and this party is denounced by the agency as having “neo Nazi roots.” But, “center-left” Social Democrats are still projected to win, we are reassured.

September 6, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Occupation raids, attacks Palestinian organizations: EU, US and Canada are complicit!

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | August 21, 2022

In the early morning hours of Thursday, 18 August, armed Israeli occupation forces invaded the offices of seven prominent Palestinian NGOs, civil society organizations and human rights defenders: the Health Work Committees, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Bisan Centre, Defence for Children International – Palestine, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees. These organizations have all been designated by the Israeli occupation as “terrorist” in retaliation for their advocacy and community organizing work for Palestine, and then labeled “illegal organizations” in a military order covering the occupied West Bank of Palestine.

The invading forces ransacked the offices, confiscating computers, legal client files, documentation, printers and monitors and leaving clutter behind — as documented by the organizations’ surveillance cameras, recording the occupation forces’ invasion. The doors of the organizations were welded shut and a paper military order affixed to the door declaring their operation “illegal” under the occupation’s (illegal) military orders.

The organizations declared that they would not be silenced by these attacks, holding press conferences and returning to the offices to reopen them and continue their work. The attacks received widespread condemnation not only from Palestinian and pro-Palestinian forces but even from European governments whose policies and practices consistently target the Palestinian people and their fundamental rights.

Now, on Sunday, 21 August, occupation intelligence authorities — the Shin Bet — phoned Al-Haq director Shawan Jabarin to threaten him with interrogation and arrest if the organization’s work continues, while Defence for Children International – Palestine director Khaled Quzmar was summoned to and held under interrogation.

“Terror” Designations and Political Control

The invasions, interrogations, ransacking and attacks on these organizations reflect the failure of the occupation’s regime of “terror” designations to undermine their work. In 2021, not only did the regime designate Al-Haq, Addameer, DCI, Bisan, the UPWC and the UAWC as “terrorist” organizations — quickly followed by the military orders banning their work in the occupied West Bank of Palestine — it earlier in the year designated Samidoun (on 21 February 2021), followed by three more organizations. Previously and in a similar pretext, the occupation had issued a similar designation against the Health Work Committees along with designations of groups including the Arab Organization for Human Rights UK, the Palestinian Return Centre and Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.

As we noted at the time, this

“indicates just how meaningless the term ‘terrorist’ is in the hands of the Israeli regime. It means precisely any organization, activist, or freedom fighter that challenges Zionist colonialism through any method or means of resistance at all. The flurry of ‘terrorist’ designations for organizations working to expose Israel’s crimes and organize Palestinians underlines this reality….These designations are not attacks on individual organizations but against Palestinian human rights defenders and those around the world who stand up for Palestinian liberation — and, fundamentally, the Palestinian people as a whole, especially the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons. They attempt to repress growing support for the legitimate resistance of the Palestinian people and confrontation of imperialism and Zionism.”

Further, it is clear that the use of such designations is intended to further political control over Palestinian society. These designations hinge on the allegation that organizations are close to one or another Palestinian resistance organizations, most commonly the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or Hamas. Israeli officials have shopped around “evidence” to various governments that is so weak so as to be ludicrous, consisting almost entirely of unsubstantiated statements or on the idea that employing a person who supports a political organization (or, in some cases, relatives of people in political organizations “designated” by the occupation) is “funding” that organization by paying employees a salary for doing their job.

While it is obvious that these are false claims, the objective of this type of attack goes beyond simply lobbing allegations. Indeed, the European governments that have criticized the attacks and designations have also repeatedly affirmed their willingness to “examine evidence” and “act” if the Israeli regime “proves” that popular organizations, civil society groups and human rights advocates are in some way “tied” to Palestinian resistance movements. Not only are the organizations “innocent” of the Israeli claims, the claims themselves are fundamentally repugnant. The Palestinian people have the right to resist occupation and to be a part of political, social and armed movements in that resistance; this is not “terrorism” but an essential right of people under occupation and colonization.

Rather than affirming the right of Palestinians to resist and to organize themselves to achieve those goals, these European governments instead use these attacks to impose even greater political scrutiny and conditions. In many cases (such as the Netherlands), these governments recommend or require that all employees of these organizations must not be associated with any “banned” Palestinian political organization. If Palestinians are part of a political party or movement, they must be unemployable and impoverished: this is both the argument of the occupation and of the European states providing a meager “defense” of Palestinian civil society.

For the European funding agencies and many large foundations, supporting Palestinian NGOs has never been primarily about empowering or supporting the Palestinian people to achieve their liberation but rather about redirecting Palestinian energies into “state-building” and/or “reform” projects that exist within the confines of Oslo. Time and time again, these forces have introduced new conditional funding mechanisms and restrictions on everything from the political affiliation of individual employees to the names of buildings and schools.

European Union: Partners in Colonialism and Apartheid

This is borne out once again by the statement of nine European states — Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden — which invokes the promotion of “democratic values and the two-state solution,” a fundamental contradiction as the so-called “two-state solution” itself is the legitimization of the colonization and occupation of 78% of Palestine and no solution at all for the Palestinian people. This brief comment lays bare the real political motivation for European involvement in funding Palestinian organizations, which is to limit rather than to achieve rights, justice and liberation. Further, the statement notes that “should convincing evidence be made available to the contrary, we would act accordingly.”

Here, the “evidence” being referred to would be any “links” between these NGOs and the Palestinian resistance. By including this statement in their alleged defense of the organizations, these European states actually encourage the occupation to continue its raids and ransacking, confiscation of files, arrests and interrogations, in an attempt to manufacture such “evidence”.

Of course, the position of these states themselves — members of the aggressive NATO alliance, defenders of the Israeli occupation in international arenas — is all too clear. The European Union, while rejecting the designation of advocacy and civil society organizations, continues to designate Palestinian resistance organizations as “terrorists.”

France continues to imprison Georges Ibrahim Abdallah while doing almost nothing to advocate for its citizen Salah Hamouri, jailed without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention, as the government attempts to criminalize Palestinian activism, such as the Collectif Palestine Vaincra. Germany not only engages in weapons deals with the occupation, it also engages in severely repressive practices against Palestine organizing, particularly Palestinian communities in exile and diaspora, from the expulsion of Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat and Palestinian torture survivor and feminist Rasmea Odeh to the ban on 15 May Nakba demonstrations in Berlin. This is not to mention the links between Zionism and European colonialism from the very beginning of the Zionist project.

Now, Israeli prime minister and war criminal Yair Lapid is scheduled to come to Brussels on 6 October to convene the “Association Council” with all EU member states’ foreign ministers, for the first time in 10 years. This is the council under the EU-Israel Association Agreement, the agreement that provides for free trade for occupation products inside the EU and allows for occupation institutions to receive European grants for research and development.

Ending the EU-Israel Association Agreement is a long-time demand of the Palestine solidarity movement, but despite their expressed “concerns” about the violent repression imposed on Palestinians, these European states are planning to welcome Lapid and convene the Association Council after a long hiatus, celebrating their complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Canadian government has refused to make any meaningful statement about these attacks, despite posing as a defender of “human rights.” U.S. officials stated their “concern,” while continuing to provide $3.8 billion in military support to the occupier.

**

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network affirms that these attacks are part and parcel of the ongoing war on Palestinian existence and organization, carried out by the Zionist state and supported by the imperialist powers that ally with the Israeli occupation, as well as Arab reactionary regimes engaged in “normalization” and the Palestinian Authority. While PA officials declare their public support for the targeted organizations, the PA continues to engage in security coordination with the occupation, declined the use of its security forces to defend the organizations, and has even previously detained leaders, directors and staff of these organizations challenging its repression at the behest of the occupier.

We reaffirm that the primary way that we can confront these designations is by intensifying our organizing, action, mobilization and resistance to bring down the structures of colonialism, implement the right to return for Palestinian refugees, and support the liberation of all Palestinian prisoners and of Palestine, from the river to the sea. This includes campaigning to bring an end to the so-called “terrorist lists” used to terrify Palestinian communities and Palestine solidarity organizers, which only provide a weapon in the hands of the occupation and encourages it to engage in further specious designations.

We also urge all to take action to confront Lapid’s visit on 6 October in Brussels and to bring down the “EU-Israel Association Agreement,” an agreement built on the colonization of Palestine and the massacres targeting the Palestinian people. It is incumbent upon all institutions and organizations concerned about these raids and about the Palestinian people to adopt and implement the boycott and international isolation of Israel, including at the United Nations and its bodies.

Further, we urge all to join us in organizing to march in Brussels on 29 October for the March for Return and Liberation to the European Parliament, to demand an end to European complicity, involvement in and support for the colonization of Palestine, the siege on Gaza, the imprisonment of Palestinians and the denial of millions of Palestinians’ right to return home.

samidoun@samidoun.net

August 21, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canada, Sweden and Finland announce dispatch of military instructors to Ukraine 

By Lucas Leiroz | August 15, 2022

The West continues to insist on indefinitely prolonging the suffering of the Ukrainian people. The policy of sending military aid seems to have no limits. In addition to financial remittances and arms shipments, Western countries are also mobilizing to give military instructions to Kiev. Considering the war crimes and human rights violations repeatedly committed by Ukrainian forces, supporting Kiev militarily means co-participating in the crimes – and the West must be judged responsible for that.

On 12 August, Canada and Sweden announced that they had sent teams of military instructors to participate in a joint program with the UK to train Ukrainian troops. Currently, London leads a project of military assistance to Ukraine by training soldiers with Western instructors. The objective is to pass on the technical and practical knowledge necessary for the Ukrainians to use the military equipment received from the West in the best possible way, thus helping Kiev to continue its “resistance” against the Russian special military operation.

Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said that 225 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) officers will be sent to the UK to participate in the project. The first phase of participation would consist of a four-month period of joint military actions, in which Ukrainian combatants would be instructed in knowledge “related to frontline combat, weapons handling, first aid, field craft, patrol tactics, and include the law of armed contact”. She also made it clear that, in addition to training soldiers, Ottawa will also be contributing by sending 39 armored vehicles to Kiev. 

On the same day, the Swedish government also made it clear that it intends to actively participate in this London-led international mobilization. Stockholm announced the deployment of 120 military instructors to participate in the program. The act follows a previous announcement, in which Finland also committed to act in the training, albeit in a more moderate way, sending about 20 instructors. This is just another step towards militarization, revealing the bellicose turn that both countries have taken since the beginning of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, when Sweden and Finland started to react irrationally to Moscow’s measures, even asking for NATO membership.

In fact, it must be noted that countries like Canada, Sweden and Finland are historically weak nations from a military point of view, whose security has always depended on two key factors: neutrality or automatic alignment. In the case of the Scandinavian nations, neutrality has always been a central factor, which began to be reversed as local governments adopted more favorable stances towards NATO – culminating in the current application for membership. In the Canadian case, however, the pillar of defense policy has always been automatic alignment with the US, complying with all decisions taken by Wasington in exchange for a place in the security umbrella.

These countries remain militarily weak. Their participation in the program does not imply real changes. Most Canadian, Swedish and Finnish military officers do not even have real war experience, which shows the practical irrelevance of being participants in the UK-led project. More than that: the very existence of a training program is of questionable relevance. Although the UK and other NATO countries have great military expertise and undoubtedly have qualified instructors to train their allies, the short training time makes it almost impossible for soldiers to prepare properly.

British military assistance to Kiev with training of personnel is not new. Since 2014 London has been assuming projects to train Ukrainian soldiers. Some of these programs took place publicly, while others were conducted secretly – such as the clandestine “Operation Orbital”, in which more than 22,000 Ukrainian troops were trained by British agents. What the UK is doing now is simply continuing its actions of the last eight years, with the only difference that now NATO’s plans for Ukraine have already failed. The aim is no longer to arm Kiev so that it can become a local power against Russia – it is simply to prolong the conflict indefinitely in order to “postpone” Russian victory.

For the UK, continuing the instruction is an opportunity to encourage the use of Western military equipment and thus trying to extend the conflict. For Canada, Sweden and Finland, it is a mere gesture of “political goodwill”, without any relevance. But, above all, those involved in this training and in all forms of military aid to Kiev share in becoming co-responsible for the Ukrainian atrocities. Since it is proven that Western-trained Ukrainian soldiers use Western weapons against civilians in Donbass, then the West itself is a participant in these crimes and should be sanctioned for doing so.

Lucas Leiroz is aresearcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.

August 15, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Swedish politician’s Bilderberg attendance exposed through FOI

Free West Media | July 29, 2022

Sweden’s Minister of Social Affairs Lena Hallengren traveled to the US at the beginning of June to meet globalist politicians and vaccine companies, as well as to attend the Bilderberg Group meeting in Washington DC. The whole thing became an expensive trip for Swedish taxpayers. Hallengren not only chose to fly business class on all flights, but she also stayed in several different luxury hotels.

The bill of over SEK 50 000 was sent to taxpayers. Swedish weekly Nya Tider has obtained important documents and can now provide a unique insight into the Swedish government’s participation in the infamous globalist lobby organization the Bilderberg Group. On its website, the government chose to omit all information about Hallengren’s participation in the Bilderberg meeting. The government also marks large parts of the participant list as confidential for the media – even though the Bilderberg group themselves made it public.

The globalist Bilderberg group’s infamous meetings took a break in 2020 and 2021, meaning this year’s meeting in Washington DC was the first in three years.

Nya Tider can now offer a unique insight into Hallengren’s trip to the US and the parts that both the government and the rest of the establishment are discussing behind the backs of their voters.

The government tried to hide their involvement

On May 25, the government published a press release with the title “Lena Hallengren visits New York and Washington DC”. The purpose of the trip was said to be to “strengthen Sweden’s relationship with the United States linked to global health issues”. The government chose to publish a “selection” from her schedule for the first three days.

On May 31, she met with Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, to discuss the 2030 Agenda. She also met with George Bickerstad, president of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Pfizer’s head of research Mikael Dolsten “for talks on future pandemic management”, and New York’s health commissioner for “exchange of experiences after the pandemic and talks about measures now being taken to prevent and detect infection earlier”.

Meetings were held in secrecy where the participants were not allowed to tell who said what.

On June 1-2, she met, among others, Andrea Palm, deputy health minister in the US, to “discuss the WHO’s upcoming pandemic treaty”. She also met with several US health authorities.

After that, the information on the government’s website about Hallengren’s trip dried up, and the reader gets the impression that there were no further engagements. What the government chose to cover up was that Hallengren had several more days booked in the US. After her official schedule ended in Washington DC on June 2nd, she immediately headed to the Bilderberg Group meeting which began that evening and continued for three more days, until June 5.

‘PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL’

The entire luxurious Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington DC had been booked by the Bilderberg group, security was rigorous. Facsimile Twitter/Max Blumenthal

Nya Tider requested all email correspondence between the Swedish government and the Bilderberg group, which showed how the contact between the parties proceeded. The Bilderberg Group is very keen that the discussions are kept secret. However, thanks to Swedish public policy, we have been able to bypass their wishes and have taken part in the conversation.

On March 11, the invitation came from the Bilderberg group to the government. “Sensitivity: Confidential”, it said in the classification of the email, which was sent to government official Sara Båging from “Secretariat Bilderberg Meetings”.

“PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL”, read the first words of the message.

“Dear Mrs Hallengren, attached you will find an invitation from Co-chairs Victor Halberstadt and Marie-Josée Kravis for the Bilderberg meeting 2022”.

Hallengren was asked to respond by March 25 at the latest. The message ends with a text stating that it is confidential and “intended exclusively for the recipient”. The content may not be passed on to third parties.

Swedish oligarch decided that Hallengren should be invited

The invitation itself was attached to the email as a separate file. It was signed by Victor Halberstadt. The latter has been in contact with Sweden’s leading businessman, SEB chairman Marcus Wallenberg, who has been called a Swedish oligarch by critics because of the enormous influence he had and has over Sweden’s government.

It also turns out that Marcus Wallenberg was involved in deciding to invite Lena Hallengren.

The email to Lena Hallengren

“As kindly agreed with Marcus Wallenberg, we are very pleased to invite you to our meeting in Washington, DC, from noon on Thursday, June 2 to noon on Sunday, June 5”.

Marcus Wallenberg sits on the Bilderberg group’s steering committee, a kind of management body. His position there is also confirmed by the information in the list of participants, where everyone who is part of the committee has a star next to their name.

Sweden’s government was legally obliged to release the documents that the Bilderberg group had sent to Lena Hallengren regarding the meeting, but chose to censor some of the participants. However, the entire list has been published by the Bilderberg Group itself. The blacked out names in this part of the document are: Feltri, Stefano (ITA), Editor-in-Chief, Domani; Fleming, Jeremy (GBR), Director, British Government Communications Headquarters; Freeland, Chrystia (CAN), Deputy Prime Minister; Halberstadt, Victor (NLD), Co-Chair Bilderberg Meetings; Professor of Economics, Leiden University. It is unclear why they did not want these to become known to the Swedish public. Screenshot: Government

The fear of the information reaching the public is palpable in the communication. Participants are requested to treat the invitation, location and dates as confidential.

In addition, it is required that all participants are “fully vaccinated” and that they can also present a negative PCR test when they arrive at the Bilderberg Group’s designated hotel.

Brief program

Although the meeting runs over four days, from June 2 to June 5, the schedule is brief, almost rudimentary. It appears that the meeting begins on Thursday, June 2, 7 pm with “drinks and dinner”. On Friday and Saturday, talks take place in plenary from 8.00 am to 7.00 pm, then dinner both days. On Sunday 5 June, talks in plenary continue until 11.30, followed by lunch. The topics to be discussed can be found on one page:

● Geopolitical shifts
● NATO challenges
● China
● Indian Ocean
● Sino-US tech competition
● Russia
● Continuity of government and economy
● Disruption of the global financial system
● Disinformation
● Energy security and sustainability
● Post-pandemic health
● Fragmentation of democratic societies
● Trade and globalization
● Ukraine

Soft power

The Bilderberg Group provides all participants with guidelines on how the meeting will take place. Everyone must follow the rules set by the group. A participant’s official position is irrelevant. “Participants participate in a private role, regardless of their official position,” the rules state.

All participants to the meeting in the US must be fully vaccinated according to this message. Click for larger image.

The purpose of the discussions is to have “an exchange of views on the topics that are on the agenda, based on this the participants can draw their own conclusions”.

The nature of the meeting is, if the document is to be believed, completely informal. It is clear that the Bilderberg group chooses “soft power” as a strategy for influence. The term was coined in 1990 by the Harvard professor Joseph Nye, but it is only in recent years that the term has really caught on, not least in analyzes of foreign policy.

The basics of soft power are influencing someone through attraction, and not through financial rewards, persuasion or coercion. The idea is that a country, organization or person is inclined to think and act like the person one is attracted to. The Bilderberg group creates its attractiveness by offering an exclusive context where politicians, business leaders, journalists and academics can meet each other.

It is clear from the invitation that it is a relaxed meeting being held. “No proposals are put forward, no votes are taken and no policy decisions are made,” the invitation states. The participants are given the feeling that they are special, and that it is an exclusive club of friends that meets.

“The Bilderberg group meetings offer fruitful discussions in an atmosphere of mutual trust where participants can express themselves freely. The aim is better understanding of trends and new developments among leading and emerging individuals in politics, business, work, media and academia.”

It is strictly forbidden to record anything from the meeting. The media is not allowed to participate, except for the trusted journalists and editors who have been invited, and who are not allowed to write anything about the meeting. They are there to be informed – some say it is more about being instructed – and not on behalf of their readers or viewers.

“All discussions are private and off-the-record, no recordings are made and the media is excluded from the meeting,” reads the information. The meetings are held according to the “Chatham house rule”, which means that one could divulge the information received, but never the source.

It is forbidden for participants to bring personal secretaries with them. Lena Hallengren traveled with her press secretary Elin Aarflot, who was with Hallengren on the entire trip but was not allowed to participate in the Bilderberg meeting itself.

“Personal staff may not attend the session or eat at the same table as the invitees. Family members are not allowed to come along either.”

It is also Aarflot that wrote the press release on the government’s website about Hallengren’s trip to the US, where all information about the Bilderberg meeting is omitted. Nya Tider has tried to contact Aarflot to ask why it was done that way, but she has not responded.

Book an exclusive hotel

The Bilderberg Group have themselves booked an entire hotel exclusively for the participants, who are not allowed to stay anywhere else but at the intended hotel. Room bookings are not made through the hotel but through the Bilderberg group’s secretariat. However, the cost of the luxury hotel, 460 dollars per night, must be borne by the participants. In Lena Hallengren’s case, it was the Swedish taxpayers who were left with the bill

“Minimum stay is three nights. Room bookings are arranged by the secretariat”, the invitation stated. They also added that the entire hotel had been booked for the group and that only accredited personnel have access there. Very high security would be guaranteed inside and outside the hotel.

The Bilderberg group also provided a special car service that picked up the participants after arrival in Washington DC. “Transportation between the airport or train station and the hotel will be provided. All participants will be met in the arrival hall by a VIP Service Assistant holding a sign that reads DC2022, not your name.”

The contact information that participants receive for the meeting, washington2022@bilderbergmeetings.org and the phone number +1 202 787 6932 “will only be active until Sunday June 5”.

Nya Tider has scrutinized the list of around 150 participants which was sent out to all those attending. While the Swedish government chose to mark many names as confidential, the entire list was published on the Bilderbergs’ official website bilderbergmeetings.org.

Some of the famous and influential participants are:

Peter Thiel, venture capitalist
Anne Applebaum, author
José Manuel Barroso, former president of the European Commission, now president of the global major bank Goldman Sachs
Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer
William Burns, head of the CIA
Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell
Mustafa Suleyman, Google’s head of artificial intelligence
Charles Michel, chairman of the EU Council of Ministers
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO chief
Mark Rutte, Dutch prime minister
Sanna Marin, Finnish prime minister
Yuriy Vitrenko, CEO of Ukraine’s largest oil and gas company Naftogaz

Sweden had an unusually large delegation of three people. In addition to Hallengren and Wallenberg, Martin Lundstedt, CEO of Volvo, also participated. The government confirmed that they did not incur any costs for Wallenberg’s and Lundstedt’s participation.

Confidential communication

Hallengren’s secretary Theodora Jönsson informed the Bilderberg group secretariat that Hallengren was already in Washington the day before the meeting, and therefore wondered if Hallengren could be picked up from her hotel when she checks out. She also requested transportation to the Bilderberg meeting.

Hallengren flew business class and stayed in expensive luxury hotels on the taxpayers’ buck. “In addition, her international flight home to Sweden departs at 1:37 p.m. from Washington Ronald Reagan National. Therefore, it is very important that she arrives at the airport by 11.30 at the latest. Is it possible to get private transport to the airport? Thanks in advance!”

Both of these requests were heeded by the Bilderberg group.

“Everything is possible. We arrange pick-up from the Georgetown Hotel and transport to the airport in good time,” Marlies ter Haar assured the secretary.

Before the meeting, all participants had to upload vaccination certificates to the Bilderberg group. “Dear Mrs. Hallengren, attached you will find information about the Bilderberg meeting 2022 as well as the link to upload your vaccination certificate,” writes secretary Ter Haar to Hallengren.

No one reported on the meeting

Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren’s participation in the meeting went unnoticed in the Swedish mainstream media. Nya Tider was the only media to pick up on the event despite the fact that no less than five editors of well-known newspapers such as the British The Economist were present. They chose not to write a word about the matter, let alone review the trip, for example how it rhymes with the principle of publicity to use tax money to stay in luxury hotels while the discussions are kept secret and the list of participants is censored for the public by Swedish authorities.

No member of the opposition in the Riksdag has yet asked Hallengren or the government about the purpose of the meeting.

July 29, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | | 4 Comments

220-Meter Turbine Breaks in Two in One of Sweden’s Largest Wind Parks

Samizdat – 18.07.2022

A 220 meter high wind turbine with a span of 145 meters, part of a wind farm in Viksjö outside the city of Härnösand in Västernorrland County, has broken in half and crashed into the forest.

No one was injured and the wind farm will be closed until an accident team examines the wind farm.

According to the Nysäter Wind company, which owns the farm, no one was injured. An accident team is on its way to investigate the wind turbine, and is expected to begin its work on Monday. Until then, the farm is closed, and access to the adjacent areas is limited.

“Parts of the turbine are sticking up and leaning against each other. That is why we approach with caution and block off. We also ask ourselves the question of how this could happen. We hope that the investigation can find out,” Nysäter Wind board member and advisor Per Nordlund told national broadcaster SVT.

Nysäter Wind suspected that oil had leaked from the gearbox and urged the public to stay away from the site.

The Nysäter windfarm in Viksjö is touted as one of Sweden’s largest wind power projects. With its 114 turbines, it will be one of Europe’s largest onshore wind turbines and by far the largest investment ever in the history of Härnösand.

However, the wind farm in Viksjö previously ran into trouble during the construction stage. Journalist investigations by SVT and others indicated that subcontractors had been left unpaid for their work, which led to bankruptcy risks, and about 30 companies being owed money to the tune of at least SEK 60 million ($5.7 million).

No fewer than six reported violations of environmental regulations were reported during construction; forests with protected species were felled and waste was dumped in sensitive natural environments.

Furthermore, the massive project was stopped by the county administrative board over environmental criticism, leading to further delays in construction. Only in June 2022 was the park ready for inauguration.

The share of domestic wind power resources in Swedish national consumption has risen from 0.3 percent in 2000 to 20.3 percent in 2020.

To counter soaring electricity prices and alleviate Europe’s dependence on energy fuels, the Swedish government plans a massive expansion of offshore wind power. However, critics slammed the plans as inefficient and a way of shifting the bill to the customers themselves. Among others, energy expert Marie Knutsen-Öy called it “an indirect subsidy that creates unnecessary costs and impairs the functioning of the electricity market”.

July 18, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Environmentalism | | 1 Comment

Turkey, NATO joined at hips but think differently

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | JULY 3, 2022 

Turkey has had an uneasy history as a NATO member country. The push and pull of strategic autonomy constantly grated against a security guarantee the alliance offered and also a way of reinforcing its Western identity. The West wanted Turkey because of the Cold War. 

The enigma still continues: Was Turkey’s shift from neutrality to alignment a real necessity in 1951? Did Stalin indeed cast an evil eye on Turkish lands? Would any other Kemalist leader than Ismet Inounu, an unvarnished Euro-Atlanticist whose conception of modernisation implied cooperation with the West, have succumbed to the Anglo-American entreaties?  

The relations between Turkey and the Soviet Union remained relatively calm during the period of Turkey’s admission to NATO. In November 1951, Moscow actually directed a note to the Turkish Government protesting the latter’s decision to participate in NATO, which asserted that “it is quite obvious that the initiation to Turkey, a country which has no connections whatever with the Atlantic, to join the Atlantic Bloc, can signify nothing but an aspiration on the part of imperialist states to utilise Turkish territory for the establishment of military bases for aggressive purposes on the frontiers of the USSR.” 

The ideological aspirations in becoming an integral  part — at least within the framework of a military alliance — of the Western world played a decisive role in Turkey’s decision in 1951, whereas, in reality, there was no imminent or explicit Soviet threat to Turkey. On the other hand, Turkey’s geographical importance to both the West and to the Soviet Union gave her a particular value in an East-West context, which, to her credit, Ankara would successfully leverage to its advantage through subsequent decades. 

Curiously, this complex inter-locking in some ways bears an uncanny resemblance to the current accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO. Russian President Vladimir Putin must have alluded to it obliquely when he told the media Thursday on the sidelines of the Caspian Summit in Ashgabat: 

“NATO is a relic of the Cold War and is only being used as an instrument of US foreign policy designed to keep its client states in rein. This is its only mission. We have given them that opportunity, I understand that. They are using these arguments energetically and quite effectively to rally their so-called allies. 

“On the other hand, regarding Sweden and Finland, we do not have such problems with Sweden and Finland as we have, regrettably, with Ukraine. We do not have territorial issues or disputes with them. There is nothing that could inspire our concern regarding Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO. If they want it, they can do it,… let them do it. You know, there are rude jokes about stepping into  unsavoury things. That is their business. Let them step into what they wish.” 

While returning from NATO’s Madrid Summit, Turkish President Recep Erdogan underscored that by lifting Ankara’s reservations about Sweden’s and Finland’s membership, he advanced Turkish interests and he added the caveat that their accession is far from a done deal yet, and future developments would depend on their fulfilment of commitments under the memorandum of understanding they signed in Madrid with Turkey. 

Indeed, both Sweden and Finland have bent over backward to give Turkey extensive anti-terrorism assurances that require changes in domestic legislation in return for Ankara withdrawing its veto against accession talks. Erdogan insists that what matters are not their pledges but the delivery of those pledges. 

It is a tough sell domestically for both Sweden and Finland, since one of the pledges is the extradition of 76 Kurds, deemed as terrorists by Turkey. This is easier said than done, as the courts in Stockholm and Helsinki may have their own definition of a “terrorist”. 

The Turkish National Assembly’s ratification is a must for the Nordic countries’ admission to be formalised at NATO level. There is some speculation that US President Joe Biden incentivised Erdogan to compromise, but, make no mistake, the latter’s warning about compliance by Sweden and Finland — as also the audible rumblings already on the left in Sweden — are reminders that the issue is still wide open. 

After all, North Macedonia had been a NATO partner country since 1995 but could become a NATO member only in March 2020. And Greece’s reservation was that the newly independent former Yugoslav republic wanted to be known as Macedonia whereas Athens saw the name as a threat to its own region of Macedonia — and ultimately, Greece won. In comparison, Turkey’s concerns are tangible and directly impinge on its national security. 

Turkey was never a “natural ally” of NATO. How far Turkey subscribes to NATO’s latest strategic concept of Russia being a “most significant and direct threat” is debatable. Arguably, Turkey would feel more at home with the alliance’s 2010 doctrine that called Russia a “strategic partner.” This would need some explanation.

Professor Tariq Oguzlu, a leading exponent of the changing dynamics of Turkish foreign policies in recent years from a structural realist point of view, wrote an analysis last week titled Madrid Agreement and the balance policy in Turkish foreign policy, which was interestingly featured by Anadolu, Turkey’s state news agency. Oguzlu explained the rationale behind Turkey’s decision not to veto the two Nordic countries’ accession: 

“Turkiye began to change its perspective on NATO a long time ago due to its strategic autonomy and multilateral foreign policy understanding… Considering the realist turnaround in Turkish foreign policy in the last three years, it is quite meaningful that Türkiye did not veto NATO enlargement.

“On the one hand, the second Cold War between the West and Russia narrows the room for maneuver in Turkish foreign policy, while on the other hand, it increases Türkiye’s strategic importance. The most important challenge for Turkish foreign policy in the coming years will be the successful continuation of Türkiye’s strategic autonomy-oriented multi-faceted foreign policy practices in an environment of deepening international polarisation. 

“The balance policy pursued between the West and Russia is one of the most important strategic legacies left to the Republic of Türkiye from the Ottoman Empire. It is a strategic necessity for Türkiye, which has a medium-sized power capacity, to follow a policy of balance in order to achieve national interests. The policies adopted by Türkiye since the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine until now and the stance displayed at the last NATO summit in Madrid show that this historical heritage is embraced and successfully executed.”  

To put matters in historical context, in 1920, Mustafa Kemal formally approached Vladimir Lenin with a proposal for mutual recognition and a request for military assistance. The Bolsheviks not only responded positively but by throwing in their lot with the growing movement of Turkish nationalists, they helped shore up the new Turkish state’s southern borders. In the period from 1920 to 1922, Soviet Russia’s military help to Ataturk was almost 80 million lire — twice Turkey’s defence budget! 

In 1921 in Moscow, the two sides concluded the “Treaty of Friendship and Brotherhood”, which resolved the territorial disputes between the Kemalists and the Bolsheviks. The north-eastern border of Turkey established then remains unchanged to this day.

However, both Moscow and Ankara understood that cooperation between Turkish nationalists and Russian communists would be short-lived. Soon afterward, Turkey deserted Moscow’s camp, banned the communist party, and, during the Nazi invasion, looked for an opportunity to invade the Soviet Caucasus if the Red Army collapsed. Nevertheless, Ataturk never forgot the help that Soviet Russia provided in his hour of need. 

A historical perspective is needed to understand the US’ manipulation of Turkey — and of Sweden and Finland in the present-day context. Biden is following President Harry Truman’s footfalls. Washington has used the very same Cold-War tactic to draw Sweden and Finland into the NATO fold as it employed 70 years ago with regard to Turkey.  

July 3, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

South Korea, Poster Child for Containment Strategy, Now Has Same Excess Mortality as Sweden

BY NOAH CARL | THE DAILY SCEPTIC | JUNE 30, 2022

Until recently, South Korea was the poster child for the ‘contain and vaccinate’ strategy, having kept infections to a minimum until completing its vaccine rollout.

In November of last year, former ‘Zero Covid’ proponent Devi Sridhar argued, “It is never too late to learn lessons from countries such as South Korea, which pursued maximum suppression, and succeeded.” And in a super-viral tweet, Vincent Rajkumar (a professor at the Mayo Clinic) proclaimed, “South Korea followed the textbook principles of epidemiology. Kept deaths 40 times lower all the way till 75% of population fully vaccinated. This is success.”

All that was true until February of this year, when the country saw its first major outbreak. This outbreak, as I noted previously, led to a large spike in excess mortality; by March’s end, the number of weekly deaths was almost 70% higher than normal.

Owing to this spike, South Korea now has the same excess mortality as Sweden – which took a famously relaxed approach to dealing with Covid. Note: the chart below is based on weekly deaths, rather than age-standardised mortality rates, so it overstates excess mortality in both countries.

Incidentally, you wouldn’t know this from looking at the official Covid death rates. As the chart below indicates, the number of ‘confirmed’ Covid deaths per million people is much higher in Sweden, presumably due to differences in testing or diagnosis. Which illustrates the importance of tracking excess mortality.

So, the country that did least to contain Covid has ended up with the same death toll as one of the countries that did most. What’s more, the majority of Sweden’s infections occurred before the vaccine rollout, whereas the vast majority of South Korea’s occurred after. Which suggests the benefits of containing the virus until after the vaccine rollout have been overstated.

Of course, South Korea didn’t do terribly. By containing the virus using border controls and contact tracing, they avoided really draconian lockdowns, and saw a comparatively mild downturn. Yet the measures they took still constitute a major infringement on civil liberties. As the Guardian notes, “Koreans’ movements were so finely and publicly tracked that secret love affairs and even hidden sexualities were brought to light.”

Anyone who cares about civil liberties will now have to ask whether South Korea’s strategy was worth it, given that Sweden ended up with the same death toll.

June 30, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | 1 Comment

Turkey reaches NATO deal with Finland and Sweden

Samizdat | June 28, 2022

Turkey will support inviting Finland and Sweden into NATO at the alliance’s upcoming summit in Spain, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto announced on Tuesday after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

The three countries signed a memorandum of understanding at the meeting, organized with the support of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“The concrete steps for our accession to NATO will be agreed among NATO allies over the next two days, but that decision is now imminent,” said Niinisto. “I am pleased that this stage on Finland’s journey towards NATO membership has been completed.”

According to Turkey, Finland and Sweden pledged to “condemn terrorism in all its forms” and end their support for organizations Ankara has designated as terrorist – including the Kurdish groups PKK and YPG, as well as the movement led by the exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen, which the Turkish government refers to as “FETO.”

“Turkey got what it wanted,” Erdogan said in a statement after the deal was announced.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Stoltenberg said that Finland and Sweden will become observers in NATO at the upcoming summit. He added that the memorandum includes provisions on fighting terrorism and arms exports, including adopting stricter national legislation.

Finland and Sweden imposed an arms embargo against Turkey in 2019, over Ankara’s intervention in Syria. Turkey also reportedly demanded that Stockholm and Helsinki shut down the offices and ban the publications belonging to FETO, freeze the assets related to groups it has designated as terrorists, and even ban them from demonstrating in public.

Ankara’s opposition threatened to derail NATO’s plan to invite Sweden and Finland at the summit in Madrid which began on Tuesday. The two traditionally neutral Scandinavian countries declared their desire to join the US-led alliance in April, citing the current conflict in Ukraine.

June 28, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Lockdown Deaths in the US: 170,000

BY MICHAEL SENGER | BROWNSTONE INSTITUTE | JUNE 13, 2022

new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, cited in The Australian and in a New York Times op-ed, reveals over 170,000 non-Covid excess deaths among young Americans in 2020 and 2021, most likely attributable to measures implemented to combat the coronavirus—i.e., deaths by lockdown.

The Economist puts the number even higher, at 199,000. This rate of non-Covid excess deaths among young people holds constant across European Union countries that employed strict lockdown measures, but disappears for Sweden, which did not employ such measures.

According to the NBER study:

Summing our estimates across causes and age groups, we estimate 171,000 excess non-Covid deaths through the end of 2021 plus 72,000 unmeasured Covid deaths. The Economist has assembled national-level mortality data from around the world and obtains a similar U.S. estimate, which is 199,000 (including any unmeasured Covid) or about 60 persons per 100,000 population (Global Change Data Lab 2022). For the European Union as a whole, the estimate is near-identical at 64 non-Covid excess deaths per 100K. In contrast, the estimate for Sweden is -33, meaning that non-Covid causes of death were somewhat low during the pandemic. We suspect that some of the international differences are due to the standard used to designate a death as Covid, but perhaps also Sweden’s result is related to minimizing the disruption of its citizen’s normal lifestyles.

Hauntingly, the results of the NBER and Economist studies are a near-perfect match of the simple calculations of lockdown deaths performed in my book, Snake Oil.

As the New York Times notes euphemistically: “The rate of death from all causes for younger adults has risen by a bigger percentage than has the rate of death from all causes for old people.” It’s nice of the New York Times to finally print this fact, but they would appear to be, euphemistically, a day late and a dollar short—the “dollar” in this case being 200,000 young American lives.

June 13, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

Arctic Council Decisions Made Without Russia to Be Illegitimate – Ambassador to US Antonov

Samizdat – 09.06.2022

WASHINGTON – Russia is concerned about plans to resume the work of the Arctic Council without its participation and warns that decisions made in this format will be illegitimate, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said.

Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the United States earlier announced their intention to resume work in the Council on a limited basis – within the framework of projects that do not involve Russia.

“Such a step cannot but cause concern not only for Russia as the current chairman of the Council, but also for the entire international community interested in the further sustainable development of this region. We state that this unique format of interstate interaction continues to be politicized,” Antonov said.

“Decisions on behalf of the Arctic Council, made without our country, will be illegitimate and violate the principle of consensus stipulated by its governing documents,” he warned.

The work of the Council was suspended on March 3 in light of the events in Ukraine.

June 9, 2022 Posted by | Russophobia | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family worried as Iranian held incommunicado in Swedish detention

Hamid Nouri, a former Iranian official, has been jailed in Sweden since 2019
Press TV – June 1, 2022

A former Iranian official, wrongfully accused and jailed in Sweden, has been held incommunicado for almost a month, his relatives say.

The Iranian Judiciary’s Media Center cited Hamid Nouri’s family members as saying that he has not been able to contact them for 28 days now.

The Swedish judiciary has reportedly cut off communication with his family after relocating him to another detention center, leading to serious concerns among his family in Iran.

Nouri was arrested upon arrival in Sweden at Stockholm Airport in November 2019 and immediately imprisoned. He has been held in solitary confinement for over two years.

Swedish prosecutors have requested the maximum penalty of life imprisonment for Nouri, accusing the former Iranian judiciary official of prisoner abuse.

The charges against Nouri stem from accusations leveled against him by members of the anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), who claim Nouri was involved in the execution and torture of MKO members in 1988. Nouri vehemently rejects the allegations.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has denounced his detention as “illegal.”

Reports say Swedish judicial authorities have been preventing Nouri from contacting his family since moving him to a different detention center.

Upon arrest, he was forbidden for around eight months from making phone calls to his family members, and barred from meeting them in person for two years.

June 2, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments