In the Nordic region, there are many signs of a dangerous development where parts of the military seem to be out of democratic control. Many of those who were entrusted to defend their people seem to be doing something else. In Denmark, it has been exposed that their military is spying on its own people and friendly neighbors (which is in line with earlier revelations by Edward Snowden). In Norway, even parts of the Norwegian military are worried about the military escalation directed from abroad and perceived as unnecessarily provocative (link to article in Norwegian). And the Swedish military seems to have developed into an “escort service” for foreign military, which is something the Swedish minister of defence seems very happy with (links to content in Swedish). From Finland it is reported that a “cooperation deal” has been made with NATO, which could violate the Finnish constitution.
The crash of a nuclear bomber on Greenland in 1968 is a reminder of the risks caused by military activities, which are sometimes kept secret from the people. Danes who were were working for a military contractor from Denmark believe their cancer illnesses have been caused by exposure to plutonium scattered by the crash. Afterwards, it has been revealed that nuclear weapons had also been deployed on the ground. The Danish government had in fact given tacit permission for nuclear weapons. All of this was done in contravention of Denmark’s nuclear-free zone policy and behind the back of their people.
Set of four B28FI thermonuclear bombs of the same type as those in the accident at Thule
Iran recently executed a dissident, Rouhallah Zam, on vague charges after he was likely detained while on a visit to Iraq and forcibly returned to Iran. It is claimed that Iran executes the most people in the world per capita (link to article with shocking photos). This includes also juveniles, which we have highlighted in particular on Accoun before, because it is against international law.
For years, many murders where other governments are believed to be responsible have also taken place in Iran. The latest is the deadly attack by a hit-squad on nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, which is widely believed to increase the risk of an open war with Iran.
The tensions with Iran have also resulted in shooting down two civilian airliners: IR655 in July 1988 by USS Vincennes (for which the captain and the air-warfare coordinator were later awarded) and PS752 in January 2020 by Iran themselves (for which there appears to have been arrests of a person who posted a video of the missile strike and of low-level officials).
Last week, two board members of Accoun had the pleasure to participate in Gothenburg Democracy Day 2020, which was held online. One topic we brought up was transparency, because we have seen how the Swedish transparency principle is about to erode – on central level as well as local level (link to content in Swedish) – and believe transparency is important to prevent crime and abuse of power.
During the day, Ten Priorities for the Future of Democracy were identified:
1) Education, starting as early was possible, about democracy to
avoid complacency and allow new generations and immigrants
to create their own interest and varieties of democracy
2) Linking modern Direct Democracy with education by providing
political workshops in schools/for adults
3) Develop a Global Charter for Truth Mentoring Program
4) We need Dialogue, we need Time, we need Curiosity – that
5) Everyone must realize how Serious the Situation is, and do
whatever one can – at local level or wherever one can – to
safeguard democracy against its enemies.
6) Include as many people in democratic process as possible: the
young and the foreigners by giving them the right to vote, or at
least let them bring up issues to the local parliament, and
everybody by introducing a city card giving access to all city
7) To involve young people and to narrow the gap to the power
8) Participation on equal footing!
9) UN 2.0 – time to revamp!
10) Transparency and having access to all information on
It has been known for years that Julian Assange was given a special treatment, in a negative sense, in Sweden. However, there is a collective silence in Sweden, especially in government and parliament, regarding the abuses done to Assange. Hardly anyone there will stand up for the rights of Assange. An exception is Amineh Kakabaveh, who has asked a critical question about Assange (all links in this post are to content in Swedish).
The famous journalist Günter Walraff says about the Swedish culture of silence:
– The treatment of Assange can be seen as a yardstick, a litmus test for the future global boundaries of journalism and freedom of speech. It’s a scary perspective. Nils Melzer calls the ongoing treatment of Assange in Belmarsh Prison a deliberate form of psychological torture. Normal prisoners, including those convicted of murder, may receive children and relatives. They may hold confidential talks with their lawyers. Assange is denied all this. You consciously create difficulties in his daily life. You want to make him desperate through a conscious form of disorientation. The strength of the abuse is constantly increasing. Assange is barred from attending the trial on normal terms. In the courtroom, he is placed behind a glass wall, much like an animal to be observed and at the same time kept separate from humans. He can be isolated eleven hours a day. He is not even allowed to hug his own children. And he was denied contact with his lawyers for several months.
– All this is about depriving him of his dignity, of breaking him down as a human being.
The biggest revelation of Assange and WikiLeaks is perhaps the treatment of Assange himself, which shows that our freedom of speech, and thus our democracy, failed this “litmus test”. It also reminds of how Swedish authority cooperated with Gestapo.
Read the interview by Arne Ruth with Günter Walraff .
After many years of hard work by ICAN and others, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has been ratified by 50 nations and will enter into legal force on 22 January 2021. It is not surprising that other nations with nuclear weapons don’t participate in this process. However, even many nations that have officially been against nuclear weapons are now opposed to TPNW, sometimes despite the opinion of an overwhelming majority of their people. It makes one question, if democracy is really workning in some of these countries. Also some countries that have suffered from nuclear weapons, including the testing of weapons, are now opposed to TPNW, for example in the Pacific. And authorities have tried to cover up contamination. This highlights the state of an opressed world. But at least 50 nations were nevertheless able to ratify TPNW. Congratulations to them!
Earlier, we wrote on this web page that Sweden’s handling of the coronavirus has not included repressive measures and should in that respect serve as a good example. However, there is one disgraceful exception from that.
In the city of Arboga in central Sweden, a citizen’s initiative reached enough support for a municipal referendum to be held regarding a public school (all links in this post are to content in Swedish). However, the referendum was first postponed, with reference to the coronavirus, which was probably just a poor excuse. Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell saw no obstacles to a referendum in Arboga. Now the referendum has been canceled by the leading politicians in Arboga, who in this way pushed through the permanent closure of a public school in Medåker (in Arboga municipality) – something they wanted all along.
The “Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill” is rushed through UK parliament. It may allow undercover agents from 13 different law enforcement and government agencies to break the criminal law. Kenny MacAskill is one of many who think it goes too far:
The powers being authorised legitimise actions by police and the security services that are simply unacceptable in a democracy. Allowing the most serious criminality, including potentially kidnap and murder, not only threatens our society but can corrode those institutions from within.
The UK Government is trying to push a bill through parliament that could effectively decriminalise toture. It’s called the Overseas Operations Bill.
Read more on Reprieve, where you also find a link to the campaign petition
Raoul Wallenberg disappeared in Hungary 1945 and probably died later in a Soviet prison, or was even murdered there. Folke Bernadotte was one of the people murdered in the UN delegation in Jerusalem 1948. Dag Hammarskjöld was, together with others on the same plane, killed in connection with a plane crash near Ndola 1961. Olof Palme was murdered in Stockholm 1986 and the police investigation turned into a mess. There is a pattern in these cases involving prominent Swedish citizens: Sweden’s failure to stand up for real justice, so far, which has set a dangerous precedent. Hopefully that is changing for the better, now when Sweden’s leading newspaper writes about Hammarskjöld, after a new book by Ove Bring has been published (link to article in Swedish):
The Swedish government’s actions in connection with Dag Hammarskjöld’s death should be investigated. The demand comes from former Foreign Ministry official Ove Bring, who does not rule out that political and economic interests during the days of the Cold War led to that suspicions were downplayed that an attack was behind the plane crash in Ndola.