Sweden conducts spy flights over Russia amidst heightened tensions

Swedish Air ForceSwedish Air Force spy planes conducted reconnaissance flights over Russia on Wednesday —and there was nothing the Kremlin could do about it. The flights were part of the 1992 Treaty on Open Skies, an international agreement designed to build trust among former Cold War rivals. The treaty was first proposed by the United States in 1990, with the intention of covering all member-states of the Warsaw Pact and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. When it was eventually signed, on March 24, 1992, it was ratified by 23 countries, including the US and Russia. An additional 11 states have joined the treaty at various times since, with Sweden joining in 2002. On Wednesday, Swedish reconnaissance airplanes conducted flights over a number of Russian military installations as part of the treaty, as they do every year during predetermined times.

This year, however, the stakes are different, since relations between Stockholm and Moscow have deteriorated dramatically. The Scandinavian country has issued numerous formal complaints against what it says were illegal infiltrations of its airspace by Russian military jets since 2014. Carl Bildt, Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said earlier this year that some of these alleged airspace infiltrations represented “the most serious aerial incursions by the Russians in almost 10 years”. In October of last year, Swedish authorities shut down airspace over Stockholm while searching for a misery foreign vessel seen off the coast of the Swedish capital, said to be a Russian spy submarine. The mystery vessel was never detected, but some Swedish media sites claimed that its mission had been to either “pick up or drop off a Russian spy” without alerting Swedish authorities. In March of this year, the Swedish Security Service, known as SAPO, said that Russia was Sweden’s greatest short-term threat, adding that nearly a third of all Russian diplomats stationed in Sweden were in fact intelligence officers.

Swedish media quoted Swedish Armed Forces Colonel Carol Paraniak, who said that Russia was and would always remain an intelligence target for Sweden. This is especially true today, as the “security and political situation […] has changed a lot compared to last year. Tensions have increased dramatically”, said Paraniak.

Author: Ian Allen | Date: 13 August 2015 | Permalink

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WikiLeaks document to expose Swedish Foreign Minister as US spy

Carl BildtBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
International whistleblower website WikiLeaks says it intends to publish a classified document that allegedly exposes Sweden’s current Foreign Minister as a spy for the United States. According to Swedish newspaper Expressen, which says it has seen the document in question, Carl Bildt, Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, is shown to have operated as an informant for the United States since the mid-1970s. The revelation, which is allegedly included in a classified diplomatic cable sent from the American embassy in Stockholm to the US Department of State, is likely to cause a major political crisis in Sweden and end the career of Carl Bildt, a popular politician who served as Sweden’s Prime Minister between 1991 and 1994. In an article published on Wednesday, Expressen cites an anonymous WikiLeaks source that claims Bildt “cooperated with the American government in a manner that is in direct violation of Swedish law”. The paper also states that, according to the incriminating document, Bildt was initially recruited by US intelligence through Republican political strategist Karl Rove, who is known to have been “an old personal friend” of the Swedish politician. According to the Expressen report, WikiLeaks has decided to publicize the leaked diplomatic cable as a warning against the Swedish government, which is said to be considering extraditing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States. Read more of this post