Sweden set up front company to secretly export arms to Saudi Arabia

Swedish Defense Research AgencyBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
Long considered as one of the world’s most socially responsible nations, Sweden has stringent laws prohibiting the export of Swedish weapons to countries that fall short of elementary democratic standards. Which is why the Swedish electorate was shocked by news earlier this month that the Swedish government set up a front company to secretly export weapons to one of the world’s most repressive and brutal regimes: Saudi Arabia. According to Sveriges Radio, Sweden’s publicly funded national broadcaster, which first aired the story, the shell company, which is named SSTI, was founded in 2009. It was registered in Saudi Arabia by former employees of Sweden’s Defense Research Agency. Known simply as FOI, the Agency operates as the defense research arm of the Swedish government, and reports directly to Sweden’s Ministry of Defense. The Stockholm based broadcaster said that the former FOI employees were specifically selected by the Swedish government in order to prevent the appearance of links between the front company, SSTI, and the Swedish state. The deal with the Saudi government was to build a weapons factory in the oil-rich kingdom, which would covertly manufacture Swedish weapons for direct sale to the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces. The deal turned complex, however, and was almost derailed, by the requirement to use cash funds in order to set up SSTI. It was at that point, Sveriges Radio says, that the FOI turned to Swedish military intelligence for assistance. According to anonymous sources, FOI officials “borrowed cash” from Sweden’s Military Intelligence and Security Service (MUST), which was eventually transported in suitcases to Saudi Arabia “on several occasions”, in order to help set up the front company. MUST, a division of the Swedish Armed Forces Central Command, which employs both military and civilian staff, asked no questions. Instead, it used taxpayers’ money to facilitate FOI’s request. This, says Sveriges Radio, allowed FOI to avoid leaving a paper trail linking SSTI to the Swedish government. Allegedly, FOI later repaid the money to MUST, which never knew the purpose of the original cash loan. The country’s national broadcaster spoke to Erik Lagersten, Press Secretary for the Swedish Armed Forces, who said that there is an “ongoing [government] inquiry” to determine “whether FOI have used the funds in an incorrect manner”. He added, however, that he could not comment further on the case, “because this is confidential”.

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One Response to Sweden set up front company to secretly export arms to Saudi Arabia

  1. Iguana Mom says:

    I doubt they are shocked. After all, they have Carl Bilt – part owner of Lundin oil: http://www.ecosonline.org/reports/2010/UNPAID_DEBT_fullreportweb.pdf

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/09/julian-assange-wikileaks

    “The absolutely overriding Swedish priority is to keep the country’s reputation pristine so they can continue to export manufacturing products. The “excellent” brand name of Sweden and the brand name of Swedish companies are closely intertwined. It does not serve the Swedish media and political elites to discuss Sweden’s dark sides with each other, let alone air their dirty laundry in front of the rest of the world.
    Sweden has stayed out of wars – let other countries fight for Sweden’s freedom, as in WW2 – and flourished in the global jungle by maintaining a strong sense of national egotism which requires national solidarity; and this demands an omerta like code of silence on controversial issues. These silences inspire Washington-based think tanks to award Sweden top marks in the annual beauty contests of accountability, transparency, democracy, what have you. They take the Swedes at their public word; and because they hear nothing bad about Sweden they assume everything about Sweden is perfect. Swedish law might be good on paper for journalists, but laws are one thing and customs another, and there is a lot of journalistic self censorship about. It is a small country, with a small language, and if you put a foot wrong and your career is over there is nowhere else to go. ”

    Cable title: “Sweden puts neutrality in the Dustbin of History.”) “the extent of [Sweden's military and intelligence] co-operation [with Nato] is not widely known”, and unless kept secret “would open up the government to domestic criticism”.

    Throughout the 1980s, Soviet submarines harassed Swedish waters and this led to the destruction of social democrat prime minister Olof Palme’s reputation.
    Except the subs were not Soviet: they were British and American, disguised as Soviet subs.
    The NATO friendly Swedish military collaborated in these PSYOPS operation against the social democratic party, which was neutralist and very prominent in European nuclear disarmament issues. You could argue this was a kind of treason by the NATO-friendly Swedish navy. Instead of duking the issues out, the issue has been closed down and journalists who write books on the subject fail to have their books reviewed. There is a total faultline in Swedish society on this traumatic incident in recent Swedish history, which may be related to the Palme murder.

    The author of the book on Gladio, Natos stay behind armies has written one about Sweden. They’ve had their own ultra secret paramilitary but it was hidden. They are a part of NATO.

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