Category Archives: Submarines

Why in the world should Sweden join NATO?

Our establishment media are working hard nowadays to pilot Sweden into NATO. That’s certainly one of the reasons for their absurd and intense vilification of Russia, a country portrayed (by our main paper, among others) as historically aggressive and violent. “NATO has of course never planned an attack eastward” writes one of the elevated editors without a hint of irony, while NATO countries still poke around among the ruins in Afghanistan and Iraq, trying to end only the two latest of brutal, illegal and immoral wars waged on the East.

“Because the threat is a Russian threat” asserts the same editorial (thus overruling international – US made – polls showing that a substantial majority of the world’s population deems the United States to be the greatest threat to peace and security). We are back to the former cold war, when we were made to believe that the evil Soviet communists were ready to attack and conquer the whole world any minute.

The Soviets in those days obviously showed their aggressiveness by some battalion size attacks in Czechoslovakia and DDR (the agreed Soviet sphere of influence), atrocities that we still frequently are remembered of. A few hundred people were killed in these operations, which we aren’t allowed to forget. At the same time US with some allies killed millions of people in Indochina, about which my noble newspaper initially suppressed any critique, and today mainly keeps in merciful oblivion.

(The Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan proved disastrous in many ways, as wars often do. It became a starting point for extreme jihadism in that area, as well as a prelude to the breakdown of the Soviet Empire.)

Reasonably sensible people back then realized that the Soviets had neither the capacity for military attacks on western countries, nor any interest in doing so. Western powers proved those people right when the wall ultimately fell. The entire pretext for establishing NATO had been “the Russians are coming”. Now, instead of dismantling NATO, the organization added more member states and was moved closer to the Russian borders. There is no more distinct way to say: “sorry, we’ve lied to you about the communist threat for forty years”.

Today’s Russia is weaker than the Soviet Union in relative terms. First of all, it has just half the population, and its military budget is a small fraction of NATO’s. Moreover, the Russian economy is mainly market driven and thus dependent on other countries to a much larger extent than before. Against that background it should be completely ridiculous to portray Russia as a military threat to Sweden. But stupidity is not an obstacle for propaganda. When nationalistic reflexes are played upon, (we) the public swallows almost everything.

We don’t ask ourselves who is served by this war mongering. Sweden may not have the same kind of military-industrial complex as the US, but still we have relatively large weapons producers and substantial weapons exports. And our military forces, suffering losses during the cold-war-free 1990s, can feel the smell of fresh air and growing budgets. To catalyze this process, they for a while reclaimed the old submarine hoax that already had compromised our marine forces in front of the whole world long ago. But as already noted: stupidities work, the larger the better.

But what drive our editors to their skewed descriptions of Russia, filled with half-truths and complete lies, under a thin cover of barely correct facts? To satisfy the weapons industry or the military seems not quite sufficient. Is it just some right wing reflexes that deprives them of honesty and truthfulness? Or is it concern for an increase of their paper’s circulation by means of fear mongering? Any way: lots of things for progressives to follow in the future.

Here we go again – submarine hunting!

In the dark evening of October 27, 1981, a Soviet submarine sailed straight into the Karlskrona archipelago in Sweden. It went with roaring diesel engines in surface mode with eight knots, a speed suitable for open sea but not for narrow straits in the dark. The waters were even too shallow for a submarine of the size in question to hide by diving. Not surprisingly it ran up on a cliff and got stuck. Simple minds like our famous Carl Bildt and his compatriots had got their eagerly awaited Soviet “spying operation” caught in the act. For ordinary people it was more likely a navigation error, perhaps aggravated by a drunken crew celebrating the end of a naval maneuver in the Baltic Sea.

The years after 1981 Sweden was then struck by submarine craze. Enormous efforts were made in the Stockholm archipelago to hunt down (clearly Russian) submarines spotted by multitudes of people or detected by the Navy’s sonar equipment and other military surveillance facilities. A substantial part of the Swedish naval forces were engaged. Almost a hundred depth charges were fired and a number of permanent mines exploded during these operations in the 1980s.

Well, how many submarines were hit, or even detected? None, of course! At least three large investigations of the operations have been carried out during the years that followed. For each one of these the number of “verified observations” has diminished substantially. Today there is probably just a few left. Some of the sounds captured by Sonar turned out to come from a civil sail-training ship, others from swimming seals, etc. The few submarines that with any credibility can be said to have intruded Swedish waters are now widely assumed as coming from NATO countries.

After these spectacular delusions one would have expected some kind of immunity towards submarine extravagances, but the vaccination effect obviously expired after 33 years. So now we are at it again! The same manic journalism, with the same, almost verbatim headlines: “The worst thing to happen would be to find dead Russian [Soviet] soldiers”.

If for lack of money this time, or whatever, but the hunt was terminated quite quickly, the Supreme Commander admitting that it “naturally is impossible” to obtain concrete evidence of submarine activity in a large archipelago. It has cost the taxpayers many millions for the military leaders to learn that apparently self evident lesson. Nevertheless we are expected to accept that there is evidence for one intruding submarine this time. The “experts” then say that it “obviously” is a Russian one.

This submarine came in exceptionally handy. With the ground already prepared by media’s warmongering reaction to developments in Ukraine all the large parties in Parliament have declared that the military budget must be strengthened. The main purpose is thus served. At the same time all responsible pundits admit that Russia poses no military threat to Sweden. Nobody seems to ask the natural question what Russia then would have to gain from intruding Swedish waters in the present sensitive situation, and how those minuscule gains could outweigh the enormous loss of good will if a Russian submarine in fact had been caught. In most of our Russophobe assumptions we seem to presume that Russian leaders are pure idiots.

Looking back there naturally are some incidents when submarines, also Russian/Soviet, have probed Swedish waters, mostly for a short time and probably mainly to test our military vigilance. Almost all observations are from the east coast, meeting the expectations (and hopes) that the Russians are mostly to be blamed.

In the 1960s I served as a reserve officer in a Coast artillery battalion during a maneuver on the Swedish west coast. Placed in the command center I one day received a report from an outer island that a fully visible West German submarine had intruded into Swedish waters with a large margin. The report was sent on to the next level of command and in return came a strict order for absolute secrecy. Speaking with older officers I learned that these West German visits during our exercises were routine. None of the incidents ever appeared in media, and I wondered if the government ever was informed. But the east coast and the Soviets/Russians is a completely different matter.