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Gothenburg 2001 and faulty American intelligence

by A swedish kind of death Mon Mar 19th, 2007 at 03:22:13 PM EST

I made a comment:

In Sweden it has recently surfaced that during the EU summit in Gothenburg 2001, swedish police acted on faulty intelligence provided by american services.

and was asked to expand it into a diary.

I figured the easiest way was to translate key portions of the article by the researcher in question, docent (sort of junior professor) Hans Abrahamsson at Peace- and Conflict-studies at Gothenburg university.


Turned out translating is hard work, but now it is done. I am obviously no professional translater so feel free to jump in.

Some background: The raids, riots, gunfire and stone-trowing at the EU summit in Gothenburg in 2001 and the judicial aftermaths has been quite a trauma. A lot of kids were sentenced on very circumstantial evidence, and as far as I know no police charged was sentenced. Including the chief of police in charge who was charged with unlawful imprisonment for the isolation of Hvitfeldtska high-shool. The court could find some doubt that the whole school was surrounded despite video evidence with people inside asking the police if the whole school was surrounded and the police affirming that it was.

So anyway, now that the reasons for it all starts to appear it is quite interesting.

...Translation (by me)
För att president Bush inte skulle utsattas för vare sig fysisk fara eller politisk förödmjukelse under sitt besök, försågs polisledningen med hotbilder som visade sig vara felaktiga. När röken skingrats efter de våldsamma konfrontationerna hittades vare sig vapen på Hvitfeldtska gymnasiet eller några av de 400 Ya Basta aktivister från Italien som påstods ha planerat att angripa presidentens hotell.To avoid that President Bush was physically threathened or politically humiliated under his visit, the police brass was supplied with threath scenarios that turned out to be wrong. When the smoke cleared after the violent confrontations, there were no guns found at Hvitfeldtska high-school, or with any of the 400 Ya Basta activists from Italy who were allegedly planning to attack the President's hotel.
......
Det militära underrättelsesamarbetet mellan USA och Sverige, som låg till grund för säkerheten under president Bush:s besök, hade inte bara sanktionerats av regeringskansliet. Genom sitt regleringsbrev till Försvarsmakten för år 2001 gav regeringen vår militära underrättelsetjänst (Must) i uppdrag att särskilt beakta de krav som följer på Sveriges ordförandeskap i EU.The military intelligence cooperation, which was laying the foundations for the security during president Bush's visit, had not only been sanctioned by the government. Through its letter of regulation through the Swedish Defense Agency for 2001 the government gave our military intelligence (Must) a mission to observe the demands caused by Swedens chairmanship in the EU.
......
Det problematiska med regleringsbrevet när det gäller händelseutvecklingen i Göteborg, är att regeringskansliet avstod ifrån att informera kommunledningen om den militära underrättelsetjänstens uppdrag. Därmed fick de samtal som fördes med olika aktivistnätverk och polismyndigheten inom den så kallade måndagsklubben minskad betydelse.The problematic thing about the letter of regulation in relation to the course of events in Gothenburg was that government did not inform the city leadership about the military intelligence's mission. Thus the conversation between different activist networks and the police within the framwork of the so called monday-club got limited importance.
Ingen diskussion
De hotbilder som sett i backspegeln tycks ha bestämt polisledningens agerande kom aldrig upp till diskussion. Hade de gjort det hade nätverken kunnat informera polisen om att någon inträngning vid presidentens hotell aldrig var aktuell och att Ya Basta från Italien ställt in sitt besök.
No discussion
The threaths that now appear to have guided the police actions were never discussed. If they had the networks could have informed the police that no intrusion into the President's hotel was contemplated at any stage, and that Ya Basta from Italy had cancelled their visit.
Då hade vi sluppit att se Göteborgsmodellen offras på president Bushs säkerhetsaltare. Då hade vi sannolikt också sluppit de våldsamma konfrontationer som blev följden av polisledningens omotiverade tillslag på Hvitfeldtska gymnasiet.Then we could have avoided seeing the Gothenburg model sacrificed at the security altar of President Bush. Then probably we could also have avoided the violent confrontations that followed the unprovoked actions of police at Hvitfeldtska high-school. [They quite unlawfully surrounded it for hours, preventing passage and then stormed the place. /my addition]
Göteborgshändelserna är ett tragiskt exempel på de konfrontationer som kan uppstå i den brytningstid där vi nu befinner oss, mellan det nationella och det globala. Människor oroas över att viktiga beslut fattas utan att de som berörs av dem kan komma till tals. Samtidigt hanteras demonstrationer och protester, speciellt vid utländska statsbesök, utifrån internationella underrättelser som tolkas av en militär säkerhetslogik framsprungen ur de globala nätverk den tillhör.The events in Gothenburg are a tragic example of the confrontations that can emerge in the crucial times we are in, between the national and global. People worry that important decisions are made without input from those affected by decisions. At the same time demonstrations and protest, especially at foreign heads of states visits, are treated based on international intelligence interpreted by a military security-logic coming from the global networks it belongs to.
Problemet, som vi fick erfara här i Göteborg, är att militären många gånger saknar tillräcklig kunskap om de lokala förhållandena och därför inte kan kvalitetsgranska den underrättelse som de får ta del av. Då blir det lätt för olika aktörer att utnyttjas som en "nyttig idiot" och, utan att förstå det, sätta ett främmande lands säkerhetsintressen framför sitt egna lands.The problem, as we experienced here in Gothenburg, is that the military often lacks enough knowledge of local situations and thus can not evaluate the intelligence they receive. Then it becomes very easy for different actors to be used as a "useful idiot", and, without realising it, put a foreign country's security interests before their own.

Full article in Swedish in Göteborgsposten

I should add that I have mainly chosen the parts about Gothenburg 2001 and left out the long historic parts. Those were mainly about Swedens neutrality during the cold war. Quite interesting but I wanted to limit the translation...

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I also had a recent comment about Göteborg'01...
I think it was in the summer of 2001, after the EU Göteborg summit in June, that I realised something was not quite right with the European political establishment. If I remember correctly, that was the first time there was a major anti-globalisation protest at an EU summit, and the politicians barricaded themselves and dismissed the protesters. I thought to myself "those are your people trying to tell you something, you should be listening, not barricading yourselves". Since 1999 when anti-globalisation protesters were famously able to disrupt the WTO meeting in Seattle, major international summits have been increasingly isolated or held in an unbearably repressive atmosphere. What was the US Air force doing taking over the Czech airspace a few years back (was it for a Bush state visit, or a NATO summit, or what?)

Since that eye-opening experience in 2001 (before 9-11) I've been convinced that "official politics" was going to quickly become irrelevant to the life of ordinary people. That is, I think, the case today, 6 years later. The real power centres are not in our national governments.



"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 19th, 2007 at 05:18:15 PM EST
What was the US Air force doing taking over the Czech airspace a few years back (was it for a Bush state visit, or a NATO summit, or what?)

Maybe it was for the November 2002 NATO summit? Yes.

But the NATO summit was the one with little trouble. There was big trouble two years before, at the Prague IMF/World Bank summit in September 2002. That was when some friends of my brother, harmless hippies at the time, were arrested the day after the riots off the street, when they were just walking along some inner-city street, and after being held (and being kicked) for one and half days, while denying access to lawyers (during which time international and Hungarian media wrote about them like dangerous rioters who attacked police), they were expelled and got a multi-year travel ban to the Czech Republic...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 20th, 2007 at 03:42:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would the USAF have to take over the Czech airspace anyway? If the US thinks the Czech Air Force cannot protect a NATO summit, why would Nato want the Czech Republic as a member?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2007 at 04:37:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Small NATO countries specialise: Czechs have field hospitals and chemical and radiological defence units. They were famous for this in Warsaw Treaty as well. There's not much beyond that in the Czech military.

Riots of 2000 are memorably, and the way police treated often innocent people, especially from Eastern Europe. What's interesting: Gross, interior minister at the time, became immensely popular, and was even prime minister for some time (almost killing social democrats in the process, but that's another story). Getting tough pays.

by Sargon on Tue Mar 20th, 2007 at 03:21:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I remember correctly, that was the first time there was a major anti-globalisation protest at an EU summit

Was it also the first where a US president decided to butt in? At the time I thought of it as a pretty smart (and cynical) move by Bush's handlers. Compress what would otherwise have required several visits to Europe into one, and simultaneously reduce the chances of Bush making a complete ass of himself by reducing the amount and scope of one-on-one interactions with individual leaders. The protests were more anti-Bush than anti-EU. Unfortunately, as a result the way the protests were handled, EU meetings got tainted in a way they had not been prior to Bush's intrusion (as always, the gift that keeps on giving).

by det on Tue Mar 20th, 2007 at 08:11:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Many thanks for this!

(The edits are mine.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 20th, 2007 at 02:55:45 AM EST
Neat with the nice colours, thanks!

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 20th, 2007 at 06:48:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never heard of that school put under siege. I didn't realise the parallels with Genoa 2001 were this strong.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 20th, 2007 at 02:58:42 AM EST
If this continues, I see in a maybe not to far future another run on the Bastille. Unless of course we are all lemmings, then it will be a run over the cliffs.
by Fran on Tue Mar 20th, 2007 at 03:45:59 AM EST
I'm also guilty of using that metaphor, but we should stop
Snopes: White Wilderness

Claim: During the filming of the 1958 Disney nature documentary White Wilderness, the film crew induced lemmings into jumping off a cliff and into the sea in order to document their supposedly suicidal behavior.

Status: True.

...

Disney's White Wilderness was filmed in Alberta, Canada, which is not a native habitat for lemmings and has no outlet to the sea. Lemmings were imported for use in the film, purchased from Inuit children by the filmmakers. The Arctic rodents were placed on a snow-covered turntable and filmed from various angles to produce a "migration" sequence; afterwards, the helpless creatures were transported to a cliff overlooking a river and herded into the water. White Wilderness does not depict an actual lemming migration -- at no time are more than a few dozen lemmings ever shown on the screen at once. The entire sequence was faked using a handful of lemmings deceptively photographed to create the illusion of a large herd of migrating creatures.

Unless you mean that the Corporate media are going to herd us over a cliff, which would be right on the mark.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2007 at 04:40:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Migeru, I wasn't aware of this and will not use this metaphor anymore. But you are right it looks as if we are herded by the Corporate media to go over the cliff.
by Fran on Wed Mar 21st, 2007 at 01:05:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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