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Increasing militarization of the High North and the Baltic region

By Agneta Norberg, World BEYOND War, September 20, 2020

The giant corporations, especially the military industrial corporations, have been pushing vigorously for expanding and extending the role of NATO. Their blatant salivating over potential profits was indisputable during NATO’s 50th Anniversary celebrations which became “the ultimate marketing opportunity.” The host committee included the chief executives of Ameritech, Daimler, Chrysler, Boeing, Ford Motor, General Motors, Honeywell, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, SBC Communications,TRW and United Technologies. These companies have been busy lobbying for the expansion of NATO.

The North in NATO.

Thorvald Stoltenberg was a former minister of Foreign Affairs in Norway. He was the father of Jens Stoltenberg, the General Secretary to NATO today. Thorvald Stoltenberg formulated a report in 2009, Nordic Cooperation on Foreign and Security Policy. The proposals he put forward in this report were presented to the extraordinary meeting of Nordic Foreign ministers, in Oslo, February 9, 2009.

A couple of years after the presentation of Thorvald Stoltenber’s report, things developed rapidly to confirm the making of a Nordic entity for NATO war planning. The British Prime Minister then, David Cameron, invited to London prime ministers from all the Nordic countries, in January, 2011. They arrived from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as well, to take part in the first Nordic/Baltic Summit in London to consolidate an “alliance of common interests”. The subjects for this meeting were the recommendations put forward in Thorvald Stoltenber’s report.

After this report was presented, discussed and adopted, the entire North has developed, year by year, into a training ground for NATO’s troops and new weaponry in the entire Scandinavia and in the Baltic states and the Eastern Sea. The following text is a presentation of how the Nordic countries have developed into a launching pad for US/NATO war on Russia.

Sweden

Describing the military developements in Sweden, the former neutral and nonaligned country, is rather depressing and alarming. During the last ten years this rather peaceful country has turned into a large wartraining area in the North as well as in the South of Sweden. One example is the establishing of NEAT- North European Aerospace Testrange, about as large as Belgium in size, in the county of Norrbotten, used by NATO-countries to train and develop military equipment, missiles, and aeroplanes. The area NEAT is in fact two large testing areas bound together which makes it very large and ideal for testing and developing different long-range robotsystems and weapons. To achieve this, there was a decision in 2004, in the Swedish parliament, to allow NEAT to be hired out to foreign militaries and arms manufacturers for these purposes. The document underlying this decision was named “Snow, Darkness, and Cold” and was formulated by the social democrat, Leif Leifland.

Numerous tests and trainings of weapons systems have, since then, been allowed to take place. For instance the testing of the drone, NEURON, a common project between Sweden’s SaabAero, and French Dassault Aviation, together with corporations in Switzerland, Spain, Greece, and Italy. Another example is the US’s long-range weapon, AMRAAM, which is a space-connected rocket. AMRAAM is short for “Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air-Missile”. This missile is one of the most modern, powerful and widely used air-to-air missile in the entire world, bought and used in 35 countries. This missil is guided by radar systems and has the ability to find its targets beyond visual range during all weather conditons, day and night. AMRAAM is bought and used by among other countries: Kuwait, Israel, South Korea, and Sweden, which has equipped its war-wing,SAAB-39-Gripen, with this rocket.

This vast area, NEAT, has become very popular for NATO’s war preparations: The US, Britain, France, Greece, Norway, Finland , Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and many other countries are testing their weaponries there and conducting war exercises in NATO war games. The Swedish military claims that this is an uninhabited area and ideal for testing and exercises. The Samic people disagree and have protested loudly.

Examples of big international US/NATO exercises are Cold Response, conducted every second year, with 16,300 NATO troops in 2012, and 16,000 NATO troops in 2014, followed by exercises every second year with about the same number of troops. Ordinary people would not have known about these giant exercises if an accident hadn’t brought this to light in 2012, when a cargo plane flew into the mountain of Kebnekaise and the crew of five Norvegian young people died. June 2nd, 2015, witnessed another war game, Arctic Challenge Exercise, a large warwing exercise, in the counties of Västerbotten and Norrbotten. Lulea Airfield, Kallax, was the center, with 115 warplanes from 13 countries. During the exercise 95 airwings were in the air at the same time and covered an area big as entire Germany. Luleå/ Kallax, will, most probably, become US/Nato Northern Military Center, when and if Sweden joins Nato. In this particular wargame, two AWACS were used. AWACS is short for Airborne Warning and Control Station, which provides the Alliance with “an immideate available airborne command and control air and maritime surveillance and battlespace management capability.” The US/NATO Air Base in Geilenkirchen, Germany, is home to 17 AWACS.

But there is resistence against these dangerous exercises: When this ACE was about to begin, a group of Swedish women cut the fence to the air field and crept in and went over the air field with a banner reading: “IT IS ENOUGH!” They were caught by the military police and brought to custody. They were questioned and charged and put in front of the court in Luleå, and had to pay fines.

Norway and Denmark

Norway joined NATO in 1949, only four years after the Soviet Union had helped Norway to chase away the Nazi troops from the north of Norway. Thousands of soldiers were killed. The Soviet Union became extremely popular among the Norwegian people in the North of Norway. There were other sentiments towards the Soviet Union in the South, at least among politicians and the Norwegian military. Strong powers had already made the plans for the future for Norway. Some politicians had been refugees in London and already before the war ended made plans for the future of Norway. Arbeiderpartiet (Labour Party) was in power and was in majority in the parliament. Tryggve Lie, among others, was a driving force behind the secret plans to drag Norway into NATO. The US had already made plans for making Norway the US’s Eastern strategic border to The Soviet Union. Tryggve Lie was then appointed the first Secretary General of the United Nations.

The US made plans for encircling and keeping Soviets contained, and initiated a crusade against the war-torn country. Norway became very important in these plans because the country was bordering the new enemy, the Soviet Union. Norway was set to be a bridgehead and a platform for US strategy. Very soon after the WWll ended, the US high military officers were traveling in Norway and demanding that high-ranking Norwegian military officers change the defence organisation in a direction the USmilitary suggested.

The US was not particularly interested in Denmark during this period of time. The military planners saw Denmark as an important tool for only one reason: Denmark’s colony Greenland. The large island would be used as a platform for US strategic B-129 bombers to make bomraids towards the Soviet Union. Later on the US deployed nuclear weapons on the Thule base and now, since the nuclear bombs are withdrawn, the island is used for radar installations to serve the military’s needs and host important radars for the US’s so-called Missile Defence. Additionally, Denmark and Sweden have made an agreement to close the narrow Öresund straight between those two countries in time of a crisis and not to let Russian ships and other war vehicles pass through.

Finland

Finland has a 1.300 km-long border with Russia. This fact has to be kept in mind when discussing Finland in NATO. In December, 2017, Finland celebrated 100 years of independence from Russia.This independence decision was signed by Vladimir Illich Lenin, the leader of the Soviet Union. Historically, Sweden had been colonizing Finland for five hundred years, but after the war with Russia in 1808-09, Sweden had to give up its rule over Finland. After WWll Finland and the Soviet Union signed a friendship and cooperation treaty. They agreed not to threaten, attack, or let a third party pass through Finland’s territory and attack or threaten the Soviet Union. Finland developed an unique talent in diplomacy with its big neighbour. “In question concerning war and peace, we always are in favour of peace and in international conflicts, we strive to take the role of the physician rather than that of a judge,” president Kekkonen once said.

After the collaps of the Soviet Union, Finland’s politicians gradually deviated from the former peaceful policy. In 1992 Finland bought the US-manufactured Hornet Warfighter, and became more and more in favour of cooperating with the U.S. Finland soon became a member of Partnership for Peace, the NATO antechamber. Since then Finland has taken part in all US/NATO military activities and war exercises in the North. Some examples are “Nordic Air Meet” in 2007, together with many other NATO countries as well as Sweden. In 2009, Finland took part in Loyal Arrow, the biggest war exercise in history to this time. This particular war game was led from Bodö in Norway, Kallax (in Luleå) in Sweden and Oulu Airfield in Finland.

Finnish troops have also participated in winter war exercises “Cold Response” from February 18th to March 4th, 2012, the biggest war game since the Cold War (16,300 troops). Finland was also participating in “Arctic Challenge Exercise”, 2013, 2015, 2017. There is a strong resistance against joining NATO among people in Finland, so this has to be circumvented. To find a solution for this predicament Finland was together with other Nordic countries, invited to London to create a “Mini-NATO”. Interoperability is one of the more important cooperating issues. In September 2014, the Commander of the Finnish Army, signed a Host Nation Support to NATO. These developements are seldom or never discussed openly in media or in the Finnish Parliament. In June 2016, several gigantic NATO exercises took place in the entire Baltic Sea region: 40.000 troops participated in parallell military sea and air exercises: Baltops, a war exercise from June 3rd to June18th, a marin and warfighting wargame with 6.000 troops where Finland and Sweden participated as well as in “Anakonda” a ground and warfighting exercise with 25.000 troops in Poland. The US Army and Air Force took a central role, other participating countries were Estonia, Latvia, Lituania, Albania, Bulgaria, Canada,Croatia, Czech republic, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain,Turkey and Great Britain.

The Baltic states

Estonia, Latvia and Lituania, small countries at the Baltic Sea and commonly called the Baltic states. These three states joined NATO in 2004. The US has taken all kinds of initiative to use this area, adjacent to Russia, as a military platform, by conducting numerous exercises on land and at sea. The US has now access to the military bases Ämari (in Estonia), Lilvarde (in Lettland) and Siauliai (in Lithuania). The US/NATO forces immideately initiated Baltic Air Policing in the airspace above these countries. The US Air Force took over the Baltic Air Patrol.

There is a war game every year named, BALTOPS, in the Eastern Sea which is the water between Finland, Sweden, and the Baltic states. The latest wargame there had 17 countries involved with about 5000 troops, 50 sea battleships, 50 war-wings and helicopters, numerous submarines, 10 warships and other war wehicles. Sweden’s military added to the force: one corvett, 8 JAS Gripen warplanes and 300 Swedish soldiers. The US military took the lead with a number of B-52-bombplanes, which were made known to the public for the bombings of villages in Vietnam.

Other examples are: In June, 2014, marine forces from 12 countries took part in an annual naval exercise in the Baltic Sea. This type of exercises has been launched in Eastern Sea for many years. But this one was the largest multinational exercise taking place in the region this year. It meant increased training for interoperability among participating nations. BALTOPS kicked off in Karlskrona ,at the Swedish south coast, where military officials from participating countries came together to discuss strategies and goals. The participating nations were Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania,the Netherlands,Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom and The U.S.A.

In July, 2016, Latvia, Estonia,Lithuania,Germany, Italy and the UK signed a memorandum agreeing upon establishing a Stratcom Centre of Exellence in Riga, Latvia. Stratcom is short for The United States Strategic Command. It is a combat command run by Pentagon, responsible for information warfare and other operations. Sweden joined in 2016. The U.S. state department is currently engaged in a social media propaganda war against Russia.

During the period May 11th and June 20th, 2020, the huge war exercise, Aurora 20, took place. Many NATO countries and of course the US Military and Air Force participated.

One Comment

  1. Doesn’t Russia border the Arctic? Isn’t Germany on the Baltic Sea? Isn’t only talking about one side of the equation a disservice to understanding the issue in a comprehensive way? BTW, I agree with everything you say about NATO, but you distort your analysis by omitting the contradictory forces at play.

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