Archive for June, 2009

BEGINNING OF THE END FOR ISLAMISM?

June 30, 2009

Not all versions Islamism are violent, wrote Joshua Muravchik, author of the important new book The Next Founders, in Washington Post on June 27. At the core is the idea that the Islamic world has been victimized by the West and must defend itself.

With the problems of the radical regime in Tehran the risks in the Middle East are receding. Even if the regime in Iran would manage to suppress the revolt after the election it has lost much of its credibility. They may hang on for a months or even a year but generally it is over.

Election outcomes for several years have not been good for the radicals.It began in Morocco in 2007 with the Islamist party only receiving 14 percent of the votes. In April Indonesian Islamist parties did not reach 30 percent, down ten percent from four years earlier..

In May this year there were parliamentary elections in Kuwait. Women had won right to vote and hold office in 2005 but had never yet won office. Islamists lost in the elections. Lebanon held an election in June. It was not the triumph of Hezbollah that was expected.

From 2002 to 2008, according to Pew, the proportion of respondents saying that suicide bombing was sometimes or often justified dropped from 74 percent to 32 percent in Lebanon, from 33 percent to 5 percent in Pakistan, from 43 percent to 25 percent in Jordan and from 26 percent to 11 percent in Indonesia , wrote Muravchik.

Military and social developments in Iraq and Pakistan seem to be on the positive side. But the most important development is the defeated or discredited Islamic Republic of Iran that could mark the beginning of the end of radical Islam or a development of Muslim democratic parties in the Middle East. There is hope for the West yet.

AMERICAN SENATORS CALL FOR A FORWARD POLICY ON IRAN

June 28, 2009

On June 25 three American senators, McCain, Lieberman and Graham, called for a more forward policy against Iran. Like in Ukraine and Georgia the West needs to state clearly that the protests are supported and that violence against the protesters cannot be accepted.

Senator Lieberman said in his introduction:

“Over the last two weeks, we have seen how, in the 21st century, technology can empower millions of ordinary people to resist the stranglehold of a repressive regime. Through blogs, text messages and social networking Web sites like Twitter and Facebook, Iranians from all walks of life have been able to use cyberspace to exercise their fund mental rights to free speech and free assembly and to share information among themselves and with the outside world about what has been happening inside their country.”

The senator want to introduce legislation that will stand with the people of Iran.
“The Iranian government has jammed satellites and radio broadcasts, disrupted cell phone service, monitored Internet use, and blocked particular Web sites. It’s now trying to slam shut the door that a vibrant election had begun to open…
This legislation is not about endorsing one or aiding one particular civil society group versus another in Iran. It’s not about handing out money to groups in Iran. It’s about the fundamental right of all Iranians to get access to the information that they want and to speak with one another.”

Senator McCain added: “Radio Farda — as I mentioned, Radio Farda is part of Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty based in Prague. And what it broadcasts isn’t propaganda or even public diplomacy. Rather, its job is surrogate broadcasting, providing the Iranian people with the kind of unbiased, uncensored news and other information they would get in the event that they were living in a free society.”

He also said:”Our bill will authorize additional funding to give Radio Farda the ability to confront this jamming more aggressively and to expand its reach across the country with additional short-wave capacity, additional satellite time, and increased proxy capacity.

VOA Persian Service — Voice of America provides eight hours of television broadcast by satellite into Iran every day on a 24-hour loop. A few weeks ago, in response to the election, VOA added an additional hour of programming on a temporary basis. This legislation would authorize the funding to make that additional hour of programming permanent and explore adding to it.”

Senator McCain wants to examine the possibility of establishing one or more American Farsi-language Internet-based television channels that would broadcast news and other information. He also spoke about cellular phone activities.

The senator also recommended a Wall Street Journal column by Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion and leader of the opposition in Russia. His final — his final comment is millions of Iranians are fighting to join the free world; the least we can do is let the valiant people of Iran know loud and clear that they will be welcomed with open arms.

The left, during the Cold War, McCain said, so warned that if we spoke out for the people who are captive nations, members of captive nations, that that would lead to greater oppression. We found out after the Berlin Wall came down that we were, in their words, a beacon of hope and liberty and freedom for them.

“The left will, again, continue to argue that we should be nice to the Iranian regime and we shouldn’t encourage dissidence. That is in direct contradiction to the fundamental principles of the United States of America.”

Senator Graham added that even Ronald Reagan’s people in his own administration tried to dissuade him from making the “Tear down this wall” speech.

He continued: “We need to tell the truth about this regime. The people in Iran need to hear the truth. The organizations that you represent have been accused by the Iranian government of being agents of foreign powers. Does that mean you stop? Because people say outrageous things and thugs and dictators will try to twist your words, that’s no reason to stop speaking those words if they’re true.

And what Ronald Reagan and the Pope said did penetrate. And with this legislation, the chance of the truth penetrating Iran is greater. And the truth with set these people free. And I hope that we can, as Republicans and Democrats, understand not only the limitations we have as a nation but also the obligations we have.”

The senator rejected the idea that speaking loudly and boldly and assisting the people in Iran is somehow bad foreign policy.

He added: “So this legislation empowers the truth. It gives resources behind transparency. Finally, as to this election, the people who will — a group that will kick out the media, shut down the Internet, shoot young girls in the streets, send IEDs to a neighboring country to kill coalition forces helping that country and innocent Iraqis that will fund Hezbollah and Hamas to destroy Israel is the same group of people that will rig elections.”

UKRAINE – CRUCIAL FROM JULY 1, 2009

June 24, 2009

Introduction

Seventeen years ago Bertil Haggman published the article , “Ukraine’s Geopolitical World Role” in In Ukraine – A Monthly Journal, Canada, Volume 2, No.4, April 1992). It was a geopolitical/historical backgrounder including the 1919-1920 view of Sir Halford Mackinder (then British High Commissioner for South Russia) that buffer states were needed to check Russia. Sir Halford mentioned Ukraine and Georgia among those states. Seventeen years after the publication of that backgrounder it seems as if the recommendations of the British geopolitician may be realized.

In the 1920s there was no NATO. The situation in 2009 differs much from that in the post- World War I era. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization formed in 1949 has grown into a world wide security organization protecting democracies from the United States in the West to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria in the east.

A Coming Shift in World Politics?

Not long before the Bucharest meeting of NATO in April 2009 former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in an article (Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2008, “NATO Expansion Should Continue”) reminded the readers that NATO needs clarity of purpose. A display of timidity in the Romanian capital would derail a process that included bringing Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance through membership action plans (MAP).

At a joint press availability in Kyiv on April 1 with Presidents Viktor Yushchenko and George W. Bush, the Ukrainian president said that there were no alternatives to collective security. The American president pointed out that Ukraine and the United States shares not only an interest in security but democratic values. Ukraine has demonstrated its commitment to democracy and free markets. America and Ukraine were working together to help the Ukrainians build a better life. Ukraine could count on continuing American support fighting corruption, supporting civil society groups, and strengthening institutions of the free and prosperous economy.

In an exchange of luncheon toasts later that day the Ukrainian president thanked the United States and President Bush personally for consistent and persistent support of Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO. There was also the important support on the road to the World Trade Organization. In his reply President Bush said that Ukraine had made great contributions to the history of human freedom. Ukrainians in 2004 inspired the world with the Orange revolution. Ukraine is showing great courage in consistently supporting freedom around the world and has contributed to every mission of the NATO Alliance. The two nations shared a common vision for the future. The United States would be proud to stand with Ukraine.

The inclusion of Ukraine and Georgia in NATO will be a great strategic shift. For several years after 2004 Russia might have thought that U.S. interests were diverted to the Middle East. Moscow intervened directly to hamper the march of freedom in Ukraine. Should Ukraine and Georgia be able to join MAP Russia may initiate countermoves maybe through its assets in Ukraine. The question of course is how strong the Russians really are? It seems as if President Bush believes a new front can be opened. This time it is not a military front, as in Iraq, but a political-diplomatic front. The American hegemon is attempting to find another global balance and facing the Russian threat. It was a bold move and an important moment in post-Cold War history and at last Ukraine plays an important geopolitical role. That role was crucial already in the 1920s but the West did not understand it then. Now after the Soviet collapse and the Orange Revolution it seems likely the time, at last, has come for Ukraine.

The German Problem – and a French

As President Bush left Kyiv for Bucharest the stage was set. It was left to see if some European members of NATO would challenge the vision of President Bush: a change of strategy. The NATO meeting decided to postpone MAP for Ukraine and Georgia until late 2008. In reality it does not mean much but some East European NATO members, who were on America’s sidem warned of the consequences of a delay. The Latvian President, Valdis Satler, pointed out that the delay would affect the internal debate in Ukraine. If there is no action plan, there is also no action. If there is a delay, the inevitable is only postponed. Ukraine and Georgia must have MAP.

The official German standpoint was that Ukraine and Georgia were not now ready for MAP. The problem is that Berlin might not want Moscow to be challenged. Unfortunately Germany, among others, depends on Russian oil and gas for its energy. The main point may be that President Bush doesn’t care if he lost on the point of the Ukrainian and Georgian bids just now. It was clear in Bucharest that Ukraine and Georgia are on the road to NATO membership.

In his radio address to the American people on April 5, 2008 President Bush repeated his firm belief in the progress of both countries:

“Another burgeoning democracy is Ukraine. Earlier this week I travelled to Kyiv to express America’s support for beginning the process of bringing both Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. In recent years, both these nations have seen tens of thousands take to the streets to peacefully demand their God-given liberty. The people of Ukraine and Georgia are an inspiration to the world and I was pleased that this week NATO declared that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of NATO.”

The West or Eurasia?

The so called Eurasianists in Russia believe in an Asian future for the country. The fact that a part of Russia extends from the Ural Mountains to Vladivostok makes it not only a European country but an Asian country. The old difference between Eurasianists and Westerners in Russia’s geopolitics has remained after the Soviet collapse.

One reason for possible conflict between Russia and China in the future is the ongoing territorial disputes. PRC is claiming around 1,5 million square kilometres of Russian territory in Asia. Peking already in 1963 raised the question of the “nine unequal treaties” with Russia from 1689. Just along the Sinkiang border there are 20 areas from 1,000 to 30,000 square kilometres in dispute according to PRC.

Some of the so called “unequal treaties” are:

Treaty of Nerchinsk, 1689
Treaty of Aigun, 1858
Treaty of Tientsin, 1858
Treaty of Peking, 1860
Treaty of Chugusak, 1864
Treaty of St. Petersburg, 1881

Conclusion

Since 9/11 American strategy has been focused in GWOT and Iraq. As hegemon the United States has no problem intervening elsewhere in the world. American resources are not overstretched. The preoccupation with the Middle East has however given Russia the advantage and opportunity to advance its influence in the area of the former Soviet Union. The main object is to hinder NATO to expand further east.

The 2008 offensive of President Bush seems to indicate that the Russians were then weaker than they looked on the surface and that the situation in Iraq is stabilizing as the surge has been working. The diplomatic-political offensive in the western part of Eurasia is a clear sign that the United States is not bogged down in the Middle East. The foreign policy can be rebalanced and it is not unimportant that that the then Secretary of State Mrs. Rice is a Russia expert of Stanford University in California.
I
t is crucial at this time to challenge the Russian attempts at roll-back of the NATO. The opening up of Moscow to a missile-shield and the NATO membership of Albania and Croatia is an opportunity for Washington D.C. to add another present focus of American foreign policy. The most important piece of this new focus is and will be Ukraine.

IRAN IN THE GLOBAL CIVIL WAR

June 21, 2009

The Iranian revolution is continuing over the weekend June 20-21. The protesters may not succeed this time but there surely will be a second time. US President Barack Obama is urging the Iranian government to ‘stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people.’ ‘The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost.’ ‘The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

Thousands of Iranian exiles gathered in a Paris suburb to support the anti-government demonstrators in Tehran and demand an end to Iran’s clerical rule. The rally was organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
Isn’t it time for President Obama reevaluate his strategy in relation to Tehran?

So what happens after this weekend? One of Britain’s leading experts on Iranian affairs has warned that there could be a “long, hot summer” of confrontation. Important is that Russia, one of the main backers of the present regime in Iran, changes its policies and presses the clerical leadership to change its policies. There is a need of more openness, more freedom for the young generation of Iran.

If there is no change in Iran the demonstration might continue and weaken the clerics more. The killings in the streets of Tehran by police and Revolutionary Guards has destroyed much of what remained of the regimes image in the world.

The United States must step up its support for the opposition in Iran, maybe not openly to play into the hands of the radicals at power, but in other ways.

European support of the opposition must also be strengthened. It is time for a forward strategy on Iran. A new government in Iran would be a relief in the Middle East where other countries feel threatened by the nuclear weapons plans by the clerical regime.

MORE EU COOPERATION WITH EASTERN PARTNERSHIP COUNTRIES

June 19, 2009

Polands foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski in a Wall Street Journal opinion article on June 18, 2009, “Extend a Hand to Eastern Europe. If the EU wants to partner with Russia, it can’t ignore the Caucasus” called for extended EU contacts with the Caucasus countries:

“Although EU membership for the countries of Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus is not yet on the agenda, we in Poland feel that the prospect of accession should be kept open. The alluring prospect of joining the European Union is one of the main sources of EU influence and “soft power.” As the example of Central European states like Poland so clearly shows, it’s a powerful incentive for deep reforms.”

EU has adopted a joint Polish-Swedish proposal for more cooperation with Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova. The commission in December 2008 decided on a greater cooperation with these eastern partners. They are European in a cultural sense and mainly have Christian roots. It is time to stimulate the economy of these countries and also civil society.

Poland is playing a very important role in regard to Ukraine, a neighbour country. These two countries had diverging policies in history but are now a good example of how historic differences can be overcome.

Foreign minister Sikorski in WSJ expresses the hope that a new “Partnership and Cooperation Agreement” can be negotiated with Russia to be a realistic foundation for future European-Russian relations.

On Russia Sikorski concluded: “Although we in the EU may refuse to accept certain Russian actions, we should nevertheless judge them in the context of Russia’s ambitions and against the traumatic background of recent Russian history. Most important of all, we should look at them in the context of a not so distant future in which it would be hard to imagine a Russia that is not in Europe and of Europe.”

A FORWARD FOREIGN POLICY FOR AMERICA 2009 – 2012

June 17, 2009

As a sign of the limited debate on political ideas in Sweden there was very little serious debate on the ideas of American neoconservatism between 2001 and 2008. From 2006 – 2008 we attempted to remedy the situation to some extent. Below is a list of articles appeared in the Swedish internet journal Captus Magazine (www.captus.nu), which is published by a free market thinktank.

Some of the articles were published before the American midterm elections of 2006 and others after the elections so for Conservatives for the Senate, the House and for some governorships. In my opinion the Democratic Party gains in 2006 were caused by internal policies (political scandals in the Congress among them). No doubt the Iraq war played a role but not nearly as much as has been presented in the politically correct media.

The neoconservative thinker and author Norman Podhoretz (August 12, 2006, “Unrepentant Neocon – Norman Podhoretz stands IV-square for the Bush doctrine”) well presented the case for the war, we believe, in an interview in Wall Street Journal:

“[Here is] a generational, existential confrontation with militant Islamist antimodernism, international in character and analogous to World War III (known otherwise as the Cold War). The “war on terror” ought to be rightly understod as “World War IV”, demanding a new set of policies and ideas that will allow the U.S. to cope under drastically altered conditions…The military face of the strategy is pre-emption and the political face is democratization. The stakes are nothing less than the survival of Western civilization, to the extent that Western civilization still exists, because half of it seems to be committing suicide.” That half is of course is Europe.

An article by Podhoretz in “Commentary” (published by WSJ on August 23, 2006, “Is the Bush Doctrine Dead – The president‘s critics are wrong. That includes the neocons“) brought up the long view concerning the Bush Doctrine and the war against the islamofascist jihadists:

“So as the implementation of this new strategy goes, it is still early days – roughly comparable to 1952 in the history of the Truman doctrine. As with the Truman Doctrine then, the Bush Doctrine has thus far acted only the first few scenes of the first act of a five-act play. Like the Truman Doctrine, too, its performance has received very bad news…We know now that, after many ups and downs and following a period of retreat in the 1970s, the policy of containment was updated and reinvigorated in the 1980s by Ronald Reagan. And we now know as well that it was by thus building on the sound foundation laid by the Truman Doctrine that Reagan delivered on its original promise…I feel safe in predicting…the Bush Doctrine will prove irreversible by the time its author leaves the White House in 2008…three or four decades into the future, and after the inevitable missteps and reversals, there will come a president…that will bring World War IV to a victorious end by building on the noble doctrine that George W. Bush promulgated when the war first began.”

Some American observers believe that that first term of President Obama is a third Bush term when it comes to foreign policy. Events, as they unfold, will determine what policy the new administration will carry out. The Afghanistan plans seem promising. More support for the democratic opposition in Iran is needed. With South Korea and Japan the United States needs a firmer policy in North East Asia.

The articles are in chronological order:

“Amerikanskt ledarskap säkrar freden” (American Leadership Secures Peace), No. 48, Week 10 – 2006.
“Leo Strauss och hans arv” (Leo Strauss and His Inheritance), No. 49, Week 20 – 2006.
“Om behovet av en introduktion av Leo Strauss på svenska” (On the Need For an Introduction to Leo Strauss in Swedish), No.49, Week 20- 2006.
“Kampen mot terror och tyranni” (The Struggle Against Terror and Tyranny), No. 50, Week 21 – 2006.
“Den nödvändiga neokonservatismen” (The Necessary Neoconservatism, a review of Douglas Murray’s book Neoconservatism, Encounter 2006), No. 69, Week 45, 2006.
“Neokonservatismens återkomst” (The Return of Neoconservatism), a review of Jacob Heilbrunn, The Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons (2008), No. 110, Week 14 – 2008.

ON THE FRONTLINE AGAINST AMERICAN SECURITY

June 15, 2009

Mr. Thomas Hammarberg may not be in the headlines most every day. He is Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. He got his job because he was promoted by the former Social Democratic government of Sweden. Hammarberg served as Secretary General of the Stockholm-based Olof Palme International Center (2002-05). He became commissioner in 2005. Since then the Socialists lost the election in 2006 in Sweden and the recent European Union elections (June 7) were a disaster for the European left. Conservative political winds are strong in Europe now. Hammarberg could not be chosen if he was up for election in 2009.

The Commisioner is not happy about how the Global War on Terror (GWOT) is fought.
His view is that the ‘war on terror’, as he calls it, has gravely undermined human rights standards. The counter-terrorism measures taken since 9/11 must be reviewed and changed, not only in the United States and other affected countries, but also in inter-governmental organisations.

The detention camp in Guantanamo Bay will be closed within one year according to President Obama. European governments, so Hammarberg, must now review their own conduct during the Bush administration, and take corrective action.

Of course he believes that Guantanamo must be closed down and that the policies of the Republican administration from 2001 to 2008 have to be changed. On a recent trip to Washington DC Mr. Hammarberg endorsed the policies of the Obama administration.

In March this year he called for European governments to review their conduct during 2001 – 2008 and take corrective action as he expressed it.

The commissioner of the Council of Europe does not want to consider how these actions seriously handicap American intelligence agencies in the defense of the West. The decision to close the Guantanamo camp will dry up the most valuable sources of intelligence for the United States in the interest of the civilized world. Most of the hard intelligence on al Qaeda has come largely out of tough interrogation of high-level prisoners in Cuba.

The civilian law-enforcement system cannot prevent terrorist attacks. President Bush could on advise have authorized coercive interrogation methods like those used by Great Britain in its anti-terrorism campaigns.

The risk is now that the military commissions will be closed down. The system has been used in most American wars including the American Civil War. The rules of the commissions are designed to protect intelligence sources and methods from revelation in open court.

The worst that could happen is that the Obama administration will declare terrorists to be prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. They are and should be regarded as pirates as they refuse to obey the laws of war.

Mr. Hammarberg supports the changes of policy and he endangers the security of the United States. The commissioner is helping to open the doors for further terrorist acts in the United States.

NO SOFT/SMART POWER?

June 14, 2009

In a recent blog contribution William Kristol wondered where the “soft/smart power” of the present administration in Washington is.

He could find no statements of support for fair elections and peaceful protest; no outreach to endangered opposition leaders; no increased funds to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Radio Farda; no suspension of various cultural and commercial contacts; no pressure through international organizations on behalf of the Iranian people after the obviously corrupt election in Iran.

One can only hope that the American Congress can help. It seems the administration is reluctant to use “soft power”. Instead it sometimes uses “hard power”. So what is wrong with “hard power”? The conclusion by Kristol is that the reason may be that the administration is just soft.

AS SOON AS POSSIBLE – UKRAINE MUST BE MEMBER OF THE EU

June 12, 2009

On June 4 the liberation from Communism was celebrated in Krakow, Poland. In a press conference on May 27, as reported by the daily newspaper The Day in Kyiv (Mykola Siruk, “Solidarity is an ability to sacrifice if necessary – Donald Tusk on freedom, solidarity, and Ukraine’s European hopes”), Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk underlined that now was an opportunity to think about freedom. The first election in a captive nation was in Poland on June 4, 1989.

Tusk said:

“We remember our experience. We will remind all Europeans that if you do not care about freedom and begin forgetting it, it begins to disappear and at first you don’t even realize or notice this. The economic crisis brought an especially painful realization that Europe has to remember what the sources of economic and political success of the Euro-Atlantic civilization are. This source is freedom, human rights, private ownership, competitive economy, and solidarity.”

“The European Union and, in a wider sense, the Transatlantic community are meaningful only if they are based on the concept of solidarity and the ability to sacrifice one’s own interests when a weaker partner calls for solidarity. Nowadays solidarity is viewed in the EU as the most important pillar supporting the European community. Solidarity is an ability to sacrifice if necessary”.

Asked by The Day reporter Tusk admitted there were different views in the EU on how to enlarge the union. The Polish government supports and promotes the fastest possible enlargement including Ukraine, Turkey, and Croatia. Poland works in the Eastern Partnership to speed up the adjustment of the eastern partners to EU standards. What is foremost is greater efficiency in state administration, better protection of human rights, and a fight against corruption (it should be noted here that corruption was one of the hallmarks of the Bolsheviks that ruled Ukraine the beginning of the 1990s from after Communist victory in the civil war after 1917.
Donald Tusk continued:

“I can say that Poland will be reminding [its European partners] that the key values that lie at the foundation of the EU include keeping promises and agreements. European civilization cannot exist without the principle of keeping one’s word.”
In the coming years Poland will no doubt will remind EU and the world that one of Europe’s largest countries is still outside a Europe whole and free.

In October 2008 the European Parliament took an important step in supporting Ukraine’s attempts to inform about Communist crimes committed in that nation. The parliament in a Resolution commemorating Holodomor (artificial famine in Ukraine 1932 – 33) described it as “an appalling crime against the Ukrainian people, and against humanity”. It was in the words of the parliament “cynically and cruelly planned by Stalin’s regime in order to force through the Soviet Union’s policy of collectivisation of agriculture against the will of the rural population in Ukraine.”

Ukraine suffered greatly under Soviet occupation. It is time to heal the wounds of history but at the same time it is important to move forward to the day as quickly as possible when Ukraine is a member of the European Union.

EAST GERMAN AGENT IN BERLIN POLICE FORCE KILLED STUDENT 1967

June 9, 2009

New revelations of East German spy agency Stasi have shocked Germans (German daily Die Welt, May 28, 2009). Stasi secret service infiltration and influeence in West Germany was far greater than has been thought. East German Stasi had some 91,000 staff when East Germany collapsed with an extensive network of informants. These provided reports on friends at home and at workplaces in East Germany. But Stasi also worked to undermine democracy in West Germany during the Cold War.

New documents now show that the police officer who shot student protester Benno Ohnesorg in 1967 at a visit of the Shah of Iran in Berlin was a Stasi agent. The killing lead to widespread left wing radical riots and probably was one reason for the rise of the radical left in Germany in 1968.

The head of the Stasi Archives in Berlin, Marianne Birthler, is quoted as saying: “(Stasi activities) are seen as an East German theme. But the Stasi was commissioned to work in the whole of Germany and tried to achieve its goals in West Germany”.

The police officer, Karl-Heinz Kurras, had been an agent of the East German secret service since 1955. His cover name was “Otto Bohl“.

“The files have been here all this time, but no one ever asked to see them,“ Birthler said. “You really only get a development in our understanding of the files when academics and experts come to a hypothesis and start researching it,“ Birthler added.

In another West European country, Sweden, it was not until early 2000 that information on Swedish Stasi agents appeared in the Swedish media, eleven years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In parliament, a question was put to Laila Freivalds, then Justice Minister, and she had to admit that investigations were ongoing. Around 20 cases were pending according to Freivalds, but the prosecutors had seen no reason to prosecute.

According to Freivalds, it had not been possible to establish criminal activity, and besides the statute of limitation was applicable. One might, however, have certain doubts about the sincere interest of a government of socialists, which has support of the former communist party, to pursue the investigations with vigor. In February 2000 it was the Norwegian newspapers that revealed the code names and backgrounds of Stasi agents in Sweden, but not the real names. Since then some code names have also been published in Swedish newspapers:

1. ‘Schuster,’ who was recruited in 1962. He reported and delivered secret material from Sweden’s Embassy in Bonn. One report from 1984 was on trade exchange between the GDR and Sweden. One week later it was to be the basis for trade negotiations between the two countries.

2. ‘Engelmann’ was recruited by the Stasi in 1960 and is probably a Swede.

3. ‘Magdalena’ was recruited in 1979 and reported on trade between the GDR
and Sweden.

4. ‘Pionier’ reported on Swedish, Brazilian, and Portuguese connections
with Mozambique (then a communist ally of East Germany).

5. ‘GK’ was recruited in 1963. For six years he reported on East German
refugees in Sweden. He later returned to the GDR and was sentenced to three years imprisonment there.

6. ‘Schneller’ was active since 1968. He provided the Stasi with
information on Swedish disarmament initiatives.

7. ‘Krone’ spied for the Stasi since 1980. He reported on very personal information about Premier Olof Palme (who was assassinated in 1986), which means that he was probably close to the Prime Minister.

8. ‘Martin’ was recruited in as late as 1986. He reported on Swedish
contacts with Namibia and SWAPO’s activities in Scandinavia.

9. ‘Kiesling’ was an agent since 1982. His area was Swedish peace organizations and their cooperation with similar movements in the Warsaw Pact countries.

10. ‘Segel’ reported on Swedish security policy since 1970.

11. ‘Dom’ was recruited in 1985 and specialized in infiltrating Swedish anti-apartheid solidarity groups in Sweden.

For more information on East German secret service activities in Sweden see Bertil Haggman’s article “How East Germany Operated in Scandinavia 1958 – 1989. Intelligence, Party Contacts, Schooling and ‘Active Measures’ “ in Zeitschrift des Forschungsverbundes SED-Staat, Berlin Free University, No. 23/2008, pages 95 –112.

The scholarly research institute in Berlin is presently at work studying the extensive activities of Stasi against the West German Conservative newspaper publisher Axel Springer and the Springer owned largest German national newspaper Die Welt.