By Tord Björk, August 31, 2022
Time: 17:00 UTC, 18:00 Swe, 19:00 Fin.
Participate also in: International solidarity action day with Sweden 26 September
Sweden and Finland are on their way to becoming members of NATO. The two countries have in the past made contributions to world environmental and common security issues, as, for example, with the first UN Conference on Environment in Stockholm and the Helsinki agreement. The politicians of Sweden and Finland now want to close the door to similar historic initiatives that bridge the gaps between North and South, East and West. The two countries are closing their ranks economically, politically, and militarily with other rich Western states inside Fortress Europe.
Peace and environmental activists in Sweden and Finland now call for solidarity with independent voices for peace in our countries that will continue the legacy once promoted by a majority also among our political parties. We need support. We ask for your participation in two activities:
8 September, Webinar at 18:00 Stockholm-Paris time.
Consequences of Finnish and Swedish NATO membership: Discussions on what is happening and what can we in the international peace and environmental movement do now. Speakers: Reiner Braun, executive director, International Peace Bureau (IPB); David Swanson, executive director, World BEYOND War (WBW); Lars Drake, Network People and Peace and former chair, No to NATO Sweden; Ellie Cijvat, refugee and environmental activist, former chair Friends of the Earth Sweden (tbc); Kurdo Bakshi, Kurdish journalist; Marko Ulvila, peace and environmental activist, Finland; Tarja Cronberg, Finnish peace researcher and former member of the European Parliament, (tbc). More people are asked to contribute. Organizers: Network for People and Peace, Sweden in cooperation with IPB and WBW.
26 September, Solidarity action day with Sweden
Movements in Sweden call for protest actions at Swedish embassies and consulates in solidarity with independent peace voices. This day the Swedish parliament opens after the elections on 11 September on the same day as the UN Day for abolishing nuclear arms.
Sweden had the industrial capacity to acquire its own atomic bombs in the 1950s. A strong peace movement brought this military armament to its knees. Instead Sweden became one of the foremost countries in the struggle to ban nuclear weapons during half a century until recently when politicians started to listen to the US who pressured Sweden to change its policy. Now Sweden has applied for membership in a military alliance built on nuclear capacity. Thus the country has changed its course completely. The peace movement will continue the struggle.
The earlier non-alignment policy kept Sweden successfully out of war during 200 years. This enabled the country also to become a safe haven for oppressed minorities from other countries. This is also now put in jeopardy. Turkey has put pressure on Sweden to expel 73 Kurds while Sweden is negotiating with Turkey to be allowed to become a NATO member. More and more mutal understanding is evolving with a country the occupies both Cyprus and Syria. Network for People and Peace have investigated a long range of issues showing how NATO countries together with Swedish business interest change Swedish policies and interfere in our democratic decision making in unacceptable ways.
So please organize a delegation or protest action to places representing Sweden in your country and participate in solidarity with the independent voices that will continue our struggle for peace on Earth and peace with Earth. Take a picture or video and send it to us.
The Action- and communication committee in Network for People and Peace, Tord Björk
Send your support and plans to: email@example.com
Back ground material:
The Swedish journey into NATO and its consequences
30 AUGUST, 2022
by Lars Drake
During the year we have seen several major changes in Swedish politics, especially those related to foreign and defence policy. Some of them are news in other cases things that have been going on for a long time have come to light. Sweden has as suddenly as dramatically sought membership of NATO – without any significant debate – this is at a formal level a major change in Swedish foreign and defence policy. Two hundred years of non-alignment have been thrown on the scrap heap.
On a real level, the change is not as dramatic. There has been a stealth accession for several decades. Sweden has a “host country agreement” that allows NATO to establish bases in the country – bases that can be used for attacks on third countries. Some newly established regiments in the Swedish interior have as one of their main purposes to secure the movement of NATO troops and material from Norway to Baltic Sea ports for further transport across the Baltic Sea.
Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist has for several years been doing all he can to bring Sweden closer to NATO – without formally joining. Now the political establishment has applied for membership – and, worryingly, has begun to accommodate Turkey’s leaders on the way in. The Security police chief’s proposal to ban demonstrations for the PKK is an unacceptable interference by a police authority in our democratic rights.
There are some important political issues that are closely linked to the Swedish journey into NATO. Sweden was previously a country that stood up when the UN decided on peacekeeping operations. In recent years, Sweden has cooperated more with NATO, or individual NATO countries, in its war efforts in several countries.
Sweden was the driving force behind the UN decision to ban nuclear weapons. Later, the US warned Sweden against signing the treaty, which has now been ratified by 66 countries. Sweden bowed to the US threat and chose not to sign.
Sweden makes large financial contributions to the Atlantic Council, a “think tank” that promotes a US-led world order. This is stated in a text about the organisation’s purpose, which is among the first things you can see on its website. They and many in NATO like to talk about a “rule-based world order”, which is precisely the order the rich countries, led by the US, want – it is contrary to the rules of the UN Charter. Swedish foreign policy is now increasingly replacing the UN’s basic view of sovereign states that must not attack each other with “rule-based world order” as part of a drift away from democratically established international law. Peter Hultqvist used the term “rule-based world order” already in 2017. Sweden is funding the Atlantic Council’s Northern Europe director, Anna Wieslander, who was formerly a director of the arms manufacturer SAAB, among others, through a grant from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. This suspicious use of taxpayers’ money is part of the rapprochement with NATO.
The Swedish Parliament is in the process of amending the Freedom of the Press Act and the Basic Law on Freedom of Expression. According to the Constitutional Committee: “The proposal means, among other things, that foreign espionage and the forms of unauthorised handling of secret information and negligence with secret information that have their basis in foreign espionage are to be criminalised as offences against the freedom of the press and freedom of expression.”
If amended, the law could provide for imprisonment for up to 8 years for persons who publish or make public information that could harm Sweden’s foreign partners. The aim is to ensure that documents classified by countries we have cooperated with militarily cannot be published in Sweden. In practice, this means that it may become a punishable offence to reveal violations of international law committed by one of Sweden’s partners in international military operations. The change in the law is a demand from the countries with which Sweden wages war. This type of adaptation is directly linked to the fact that Sweden is moving into ever closer cooperation with NATO. A strong driving force behind the change in the law is that it is a matter of trust – NATO’s trust in Sweden.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) is collaborating with the Atlantic Council. In a report published by the Atlantic Council, funded by MSB and, with Anna Wieslander as editor and author argues for private-public collaboration. It gives just one example of such collaboration, a tourist resort in western Mexico to save coral reefs. NATO adopted a climate policy in 2021 in line with the report’s ideas. Sweden’s contribution to strengthening NATO’s expansion and dominance in the world into new areas is another sign that we are moving away from the UN to an international cooperation governed by Western powers.
Part of the process of strengthening the forces that represent a US-led world is the attempt to silence the Swedish peace and environmental movements. The propaganda organisation Frivärld, financed by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, has taken the lead together with the Moderates and like-minded people. Supposedly non-partisan initiatives funded by Finland, the UK and the US succeeded in silencing Aftonbladet with false claims of spreading “Russian narratives”. Aftonbladet used to be partly an independent voice. Now all the major Swedish newspapers promote the Western worldview regarding NATO, for example. The Atlantic Council has been involved here as well. One example is a publication by a Swedish author linked to Frivärld, which contains several false statements about people and political parties in Sweden. The publicist, the head of Northern Europe and the author refer to each other, but no one takes responsibility. It is not possible to prosecute in Sweden lies aimed at smearing parliamentary parties, the environmental and peace movement and individual Swedes whensomeone hired by a foreign organization without a Swedish publishing licence has been used for the smear campaign.
Accidents rarely come alone.
Lars Drake, active in Folk och fred (People and Peace)
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