By Trowbridge H Ford.
During Washington’s leadership of the war on socialism, the rollback of e Iron Curtain, and the dismantling of the Soviet Union took center stage, but there were other items on itsagenda, both at home and abroad. While Moscow was being cornered, and subdued, its most dangerous sympathizers in leadership positions in certain countries, and within various electorates, especially Western ones,had at least to be kept track of, and reduced or eliminated if conditions required. While winning the Cold War was always in the forefront, steps had to be taken, usually behind the scenes, to make sure that the battle was not being lost or betrayed on some home front, particularlyafter the conflict became institutionalized.
The tactics in winning this struggle were much more sophisticated and secret than ones dealingwith the Soviets.Here dangerous groups, especially organized labor, had to be isolated – unions discredited, their leaders corrupted, and theirfollowers confused about their benefits. This process was best accomplished in an environment where the media, educational system,economic system, and society continually stressed the advantages of individualopportunity, responsibility, and reward. The traditional predatory nature of capitalism was very much being discounted in order to give the masses a sense of living in a most sensitive community.
Behind the scenes, though, Anglo-American covert government was willing to show its fangs if developments warranted it. When Fidel Castro took over Cuba, and moved to reduce vastly the profits of its foreign-owned oil facilities,the CIA, thanks particularly to theprodding of MI5′s Peter Wright (See Spycatcher, p. 146ff.),quickly attempted to kill him by the most subtle means in terms of agents and delivery systems, as the hearings of the Church Committee amply documented. When the scene had to be switched to Southeast Asia after the botched assassination of President Kennedy for similar reasons, the CIA led a comprehensive assault on the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese in order to prevent the whole region from allegedlyfalling to the communistsThe elimination of the Kennedy brothers, and Dr. Martin Luther King along the way indicated just how serious the process had become.
In this context, what went on in Britain, West Germany, Italy,and Sweden were of pivotal concern since their electorates, properly led,could potentially throw the whole Cold War off course, or the Soviets might want to take advantage of some weak link in the strategic defense. The United Kingdom having a non-communist government was essentialif America hoped to have a ‘special relationship’ withEurope, as only Britain could provide the strategic military, intelligence, andcapital capability for maintaining a foothold on the continent, no matter what happened in the Mediterranean, Central Europe, andScandinavia. Making sure that West Germany remained free of an eastward-seeking, socialist government was of the highest priority, and keeping Italy and Sweden in the non-communist camp followed closely behind if Moscow was not to envelop Europe somehow.
If a left-wing Labour government in Britain, for example, were togain power through the ballot boxunder the leadership of Aneurin Bevan, Hugh Gaitskell, Harold Wilson,Tony Benn,Anthony Crosland, and Neil Kinnock, the Atlantic Alliance and NATOmight wellhave been put in jeopardy because of their calls for nuclear disarmament, nuclear-free zones, and non-entangling alliances.These leaders had not been co-opted by the comman front neededto defeat the Axis powers, and their more dangerous communistsuccessors. They were willing, on various terms, to push ahead with the third way, awelfare state.
All these Labourleaders were rendered useless by untimely demise, suspicious death, conspiracy, new developments,and who knows what. Bevan, the father of the National Health Service, died in 1960 of cancer, but not before he had moved to a more pragmatic position in the party in the hope of making LabourLeader Gaitskell more left-wing. In 1957, Bevan defied the unions, and rejected unilateral nuclear disarmament in the hope that Britain would play a leading role, once Labour obtained power, in achieving multilateral nuclear disarmament, and a peaceful, fairer world.Hardly had Gaitskell gotten started in the process than he died suddenlyfromlupus disseminata.(Ibid., p.362ff.)
Gaitskell’s demise was followed by Wilson taking over as Leader, and then becoming Prime Minister – what Anglo-American intelligence werequickto attribute to the KGB’s Department of Wet Affairs. This was another trying time for counterspies becauseof the wake of Watergate, and the fall of Vietnam. They were most concerned about leaks regarding theirinvolvement in Washington’saffairs, and left-wingers like Wilson taking advantage of them. Thanksto Wilson’s connections to Lithuanian migr Joseph Kagan, MI5 was soon contending that the Prime Minister was a Soviet agent, but before the claims gained public attention, Labour had been voted out of office.
When Wilson returned to power in 1974, the British security establishment was so sure of his subversive character, thanks to prodding by CIA Counter Intelligence Chief James Angleton, and Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, that it organized a plot to overthrow him.”Wright and Arthur Martin, the two leading mole-hunters,” Michael Smith wrote in New Cloak, Old Dagger, “had given considerable credence to a claim by the KGB defector Anatoly Golitsyn that Hugh Gaitskell, Wilson’s predecessor as Labour Party leader, had been murdered to allow Wilson to become Prime Minister.” (pp. 68-9) Far from theplot being the fantasy ofan increasingly fewMI5 officers, as Wright claimed, it was real enough to cause Wilson to suddenly resign.
Hardly had Britain recovered from Wilson’s depature from Downing Streetthan Anthony Crosland, the most persuasive spokesman of a more flexible, ambitioussocialism in The Future of Socialism, died suddenly at the age of only 58, apparently from astroke. Crosland’s version of socialism had taken precedence over Benn’swhere state ownership of the means of production was given center stage in the creation of the welfare state. Western intelligence agencies had long been developing “a compound that could simulate a heart attack or a stroke in the targeted individual.” (John Marks, The Search for the ‘Manchurian Candidate’, p. 227)
Crosland, the Foreign Secretary of James Callaghan’s new government, was growingso confident of the Foreign Office’spotential in spreading it that he was giving up on his hopes of becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer. His colleagues were sure, until suddently struck down, that he would become one of Britain’s greatest, followed probably by becoming Prime Minister. On the 25th anniversary of Crosland’s demise, British leftists were leftwondering if the current Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and his Chancellor, Gordon Brown, would be embarrassed over the course Labourhas beenpursuing since. Of course, embarrassment is less threatening than death.
The same pattern followson the continent with left wing politicians in the wake of West’s failures to dislodge Castro fromCuba, and the North Vietnamese from South Vietnam. Sweden’s Dag Hammarskjld, Secretary General of the United Nations – another institution that the West’s right-wingers had a paranoid fear of -was killed in an airplane crash in September 1961 while trying to stop conflict between the UN’s Emergency Force and Congolese rebels.What had made Hammarskjld’s deathso suspicious was that the CIA had recently arranged the murderof the Congo’s independence leader, Patrice Lumumba, so that its stooge, General Joseph Mobutu, could take power.
Justafter Crosland collapsed, inMay 1978,Italy’s dangerousChristian DemocratAldo Moro, whojust arrranged forthe Communists to join a new coalition government, and wason the way to become the country’s President,was kidnapped by 42 Stalinist members of the Italian Red Brigades after his five bodyguards had been gunned down, and 55 days later, his body, bearing 11 wounds, was found in the boot of a car in Rome.Mafia-connected Prime MinisterGuilio Andreottihadpersuaded the coalition notto deal with theterrorists’ demands.Six days before Palme was assassinated,economic advisor Antonio da Empoli ofSocialist Bettino Craxi’s governmentbarely escaped death at the hands of more splinter elements of the Red Brigades.Many investigators have traced the sources of such splinters to Abu Nidal’s organization which would shoot uptheRome and Vienna airports at the expense of El-Al passengersduring the countdown of the Stockholmshooting.
Ost-politik seeking Willy Brandt,West Germany’s Social DemocratChancellor, had a much more benign but not less sure end when its counter-intelligence agency BfVtook advantage ofclaims that he too, like Wilson, was a Soviet spyby letting his office be infiltrated by a real one, Gunter Guillaume (codenamed HANSEN), causing Brandt’s permanent retirement.Still, Brandt’s undoing rested solely upon Guillaume’sfree confession that he was an agent of the GDR’s Stasi.
Covertmeans of the most sophisticated nature, and many of the counter-intelligenceagents who hadused them successfully against troublesome socialists and their supporterscame to the fore when it became time to get rid of Sweden’s Social Democrat statsminister Olof Palme, the lone one still looming on the horizon.He stillthreatened to make a morevibrant welfare state in his own country while attempting to end the Cold War by peaceful, confidence-building measures. If dtente was to be well, and truly buried, he had to be stopped, one way or another.
Palmehad long been a thorn in the West’s side because of his opposition to America’s covert andcounter-insurgency operations, especially in South Vietnam, and his support of a more reasonable approach to Moscow and the Soviet bloc. Ever since Palme had become Tage Erlander’s Minister without Portfolio to the Cabinet Officeright after the JFK assassination,Anglo-American counter-intelligence had kept a very close eye on him – especially because he thought it was probablythe result of another conspiracy.
During the 1970s, statsministerPalme continued to make noises against America’s actionswhile addressing wider audiences abroad,and in thestreets of Sweden. On October 20, 1970, he addressed the UN’s General Assembly on its 25th anniversary in a way Dag Hammarskjld would have approved of – calling for it to play a much greater role in promoting peace, and prosperity in the world. When the USA resumed its bombing of North Vietnam over Christmas 1972, Palme denounced it so strongly in Tidningarnas Telegrambyr that the Nixon administration told the outgoing Ambassador, Hubert de Besche, that it was a gross insult. When Palme continued his denunciations of America, the CIA started following his travels, especially to countriesin Africa – what had led to Dag’s demise.
The hung-parliament resulting from the 1973 general election,
Palme’s loss of power three years later, and failure to regain powerin 1979,though, reducedAnglo-American concern about his ability to make trouble. As insurance against his making a comeback – especially in light of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan -followers of MI5′sPeter Wright, and CIA’s James Angleton persuaded famous defector Anatoly Golitsyn in 1980to put his latest thoughts about Soviet penetration of the West to paper, New Lies for Old. In the Editor’s Foreward,MI6′s Stephen De Mowbray, and Arthur Martin explained that the manuscript had been revised to take advantage of developments since 1968, and “…a substantial part of it has been held over for publication at a later date.” (p. xv) The leadingeditorfrom the CIA was former molehunter all the way back to the JFK assassination,Scott Miler, who wasnow calling for closer functionalcoordination between the Agency and the Bureau in the double-agent, counter-intelligenceOperation Courtship. (Mark Riebling, Wedge: The Secret War between the FBI and CIA, p. 341)
Palme, according to Golitsyn, was a carbon copy of Willy Brandt who should be dealt with before he destroyed the West.Golitsyn claimed that just before he defected from the KGB in Helsinki in 1962, he had seen a circular about an agent oneof its residencies had(p. 288), apparently the press service Novosti’s N. V. Nejland in Stockholm, who had recruited a friend in the prime minister’s office under the pretext that he was passing along information for the American and British ambassadors when it was actually going to the KGB – a classic ‘false-flag’ operation. To make this allusion to Palme clearer, Golitsyn had already written: “A KGB agent was planted on the leadership of the Swedish socialdemocratic party.” (p. 55)As in the Brandt case, though,Golitsyn did not know if he had been ‘sucked in’, given a KGB handler. As for how to deal with problems like Palme – those intended to separate the United States from Europe – he recommended a strategic plan to end them.
When this warning to the West did not have the desired effect – Palme being elected statsminister with a parliamentary majorityin the September 1982 election despite the campaign Dr. Alf Ennerstrm raised against the alleged republican andMoscowagent- Anglo-American covert government started immediately putting him to tests to see if, in fact, he was a Soviet stooge. As Ola Tunander has written extensively inHrsfjrden, American and NATO attack and midget submarines apparentlyinvaded the area rightafter an official US Navyvisit to see if thePalme governmentwould take appropriate counter measures.Thoughit most certainly did, damaging two of the intrudingsubs,Washington and London were still not satisfied.
This was when Sweden was increasingly convinced that the Soviets were violating its waters because a Russian Whisky-class submarine had run agroundin Skne the previous year.It was an accident, though the conservative media continually claimed that it was part of a concerted effort to undermine Sweden’s independence. When Palme’s Foreign Minister, Lennart Bodstrm, made light of the possibility that the intrusions were Soviet subs, he was transferred to a less important department.
While this was going on,the Thatcher and Reagan governments were slowly getting their act back together on anEast-West axis against the Soviets- what the North-South struggles over theArgentine invasion of the Falklands, and Washington’s invasion of Grenada merely
postponed. The covert government in the White House, and in Whitehall had to be reorganizedso that their political leaderships, intelligence communities, and armed services were integrated into making a crushing, preemptive strike against Moscow’s nuclear capability, especially its underwater nuclear deterrent. Washington and London were finally being run by hard-line anti-communists who had suffered too long Moscow’s indignities, particularly because of its spying,and thoughtit was time to settle scores in a drastic, definitive way.
In the political sphere, this meant getting rid of traditional types who would be alarmed with such an agenda. In Britain, once the Falklands were retaken, Francis Pym, thedovish Foreign Secretary, was replaced by Thatcher loyalist Geoffrey Howe. John Nott, the cost-cutting
SOD,left the MoD, and Michael Heseltinefollowed him for the time-being, until he proved too European-oriented in dealing with the rescue plan of Westland Helicopters in December 1985. Thatcher loyalist George Youngerfollowed Heseltine at the MoD.The growing convergence of British and American policy was demonstrated when the Prime Minister, who had just escaped assassination at the hands of the IRA,was given the rare honor of addressing ajoint session of Congress on February 20, 1985.
In Washington, there was areshufffle at the White House after Reagan was re-elected in November 1984. James Baker was replaced as chief of staff by the political novice Donald Reagan, Navy Secretary John Lehman,Jr. took control of the operational use of the fleetworldwide at the expense of SOD Caspar Weinberger, and NSA Robert McFarlane delegated covert authority to NSCunderling Oliver North, the leader of the Iran-Contra operation against leftists in Latin America, to carry the fight to their alleged Moscow sponsors – now headed by the untestedMikhail Gorbachev.
The increasing coordination of Anglo-American intelligence was demonstrated when like-minded, pre-emptive oriented chiefs took over the various services, and coordinated their operations, especially Operation Courtship with the two countries’ double agents inthe USSR.Christopher Curwen, MI6′s Director, and Tony Duff,another Thatcher loyalist who took over the Security Service, were ideally suited to workwith theChairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, the hard-line Percy Craddock,who wasconnected toGroup 13, the shadowy paramilitary group from Northern Ireland, headed by former MI6 Director ColinFigures,that wasnow carrying outwet affairs worldwide.It was pulling all thecovert strings to get back at Moscow for all the spying done forthe KGBby Kim Philby, and shoootings by its own assassination group, Department 13.
The American intelligence effort was much more decentralized with CIA and FBI personnel working with individual double agents in order to set up Moscow for a big hit. Gone were the early days of Operation Courtship in which individual agents just set up KGB agents trying to purchase some secret. Now the two agencies were working together to see that Moscow was completely surprised by some showdown – e. g., a sleeper would confirm that the Red Banner Fleet, especially its nuclear submarines,had been taken completely unawares by some event; another agent would call his girl friendback in the States toacknowledge that the Soviets had done some terrible act; various American signal intelligence gathering equipment,surreptitiously introduced into the USSR, was in place and working; the USSR’sham-radio network was up and running to transmiton the ground reports about Soviet reactions to any surprise; and the like.
All the while, Palme continued to arouse Western suspicions, and concerns.His suggestion for a nuclear-free corridor in Central Europe, part of his ‘peace initiative’, in the hope of promoting dtentewas, of course, met with outrage by London and Washington because they no longer favored it. They wanted the adoption by the FGRof the installation ofPershing IIand cruise missiles to counter the Soviet SS-20s – whatthe Bundestagagreed to afterMoscow shot down KAL Flight 007 when it intruded deep into Soviet airspace in the Far Eastwhile it was conducting aICBM missiletest.
When the commission appointed to investigate the
Hrsfjrdenincidents reported that two ‘hitherto unknown’ types of Soviet midget submarines had penetrated Swedish waters, the Prime Minister called upon the Soviets to stop the practice, but someone continued to do it – most likely British attack subs which went around the Baltic, and came down the Swedish coast, indicating that they might be Soviet ones carrying Spetsnaz special forces. Palme, nonetheless, continued to maintain Sweden’s neutrality, and ability to defend itself, even addressing a meeting of NATO ministersin Copenhagen on the matter.
When Palme visited the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua in 1984,the firstEuropean government leader to do so, Anglo-American covert government started focusing its actions on him more. By now, the Contra effort that Oliver North was leading was in dire straits,thanks to the Bolland amendments in the Housecutting off increasingly all funds to the insurgents, and he had turned to the friend of Navy Secretary Lehman, former SAS Major David Walker’s firms, KMS Ltd. and Saladin, to turn the guerrilla operation around. They were noted for training mercenaries in all sorts of dirty tactics, while still providing bodyguard service and assessment for all kinds of officials the British Crown wanted protected.The connection between North’s people and Whitehall became solidified when he tried unsuccessfullyto purchase British ‘blowpipe’ missiles for his Contras.
By 1985, Washington and London were still hoping that the September 1985 election would still finish off Palme. As it would soon be followed by one in Denmark, the hopewas that Social Democracy in a nuclear-free Scandinavia would finally be rejected by the voters. The European Workers Party, a right-wing organization built up by America’s Lyndon LaRouche, and having close ties to the CIA, started exploiting the claims that Palme was a Soviet stooge by putting up posters around Sweden, comparing him most subversively to his former boss, Tage Erlander. Mysterious intrusions of Swedish territory, what rebellious elements in the Swedish Navy, particularly Vice Admiral Bror Stefenson and Captain Hans von Hofsten,continued toexploit at the statsminister’s expense, and Palme tried to defuse by various indirect means, were stressed by the conservative press duringits final stages- a process not hurt bya real Soviet fighter intrusion of Swedish airspace over Gotland.
When Palme still maintained a majority, with the help ofthe Swedish Communist Party,after the election,Washington and London finally moved into high gear to dispose of Palme someway.Oleg Gordievsky, the Soviet defector who had just made his escape from the USSR, and was now leadingOperation Courtship against Moscow, apparently came to Stockholm to warn Commander-in-Chief GeneralLennart Ljung,still unpersuaded about all the Soviet threatsagainst Sweden, that the statsminister was indeed a traitor.Faced with a growing naval officers’ and policerevolt – led by von Hofsten – Palme still said that he would be going to Moscow in April with theintention of normalizing relations with Moscow. Then an MI6 officer operating out of Oslo claimed to have stolen the Prime Minister’s agenda for his discussionswith the new Soviet leader, the first item of business being the establishment of a Nordic Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone – what, if adopted, would mean the end of NAT0 in Scandinavia.
Then two events happened to American efforts which provided Washington with the means, and justification of assassinating Palme. In catching the killers of Jewish invalid Leon Klinghofer in theAchille Lauro affair, North, Lehman, and CNO James Watkins put together a rapid-response team of air, surface, and underwater forces operating out of all normal channels which provided a convincing preview of what could be accomplished with a much larger force, using the new Maritime Strategy in afirst strike, against Moscow. At the same time, Palme provided the trigger for the new operation, his own assassination, by stopping, as he should have since hewas mediating an end of the Iran-Iraq war for the UN, an illegal shipment of 80 HAWK missiles through Sweden from Israel to Teheran on November 17, 1985 – what required Reagan to act illegally tojustify, and risked his impeachment if discovered.
Shortly after this, Captain Simon Hayward aka Captain James Rennie, Operations Officer of the 14 Intelligence Company‘s South Detachment in Northern Ireland, went from a defensive role of protecting undermannedpolice stations inArmagh from IRAattack to training to kill someone at close range. Hayward was Britain’s leading hitman, having directed the Shoot-to-Killcampaign against IRA volunteers in the fall of 1982in revenge for the nail bomb killings in Hyde Park the previous July. In preparing for the Stockhom shooting – what he would have an ideal alibi for by helpingconductthe KMS reassessment of Swedish bodyguard protectionat the end ofFebruary 1986 – Rennie led a team which killed Francis Bradley, after amost extensive surveillance,ten days before the Palme shooting. (See Raymond Murray, The SAS in Ireland, p. 343ff.)
To connect the shooting to the Soviets, Jennone Walker, the CIA station chief in the Stockholm Embassy, was so concerned about Palme’s alleged treachery, thanks to the agenda MI6 had supplied her, that she encouraged the rebellious naval officers to take actionagainst the statsministerat the annual Christmas Party.Then CIA’s ‘Rod’ Carlson, Miler’s successor,tried to recruit Soviet spy Stig Bergling, still serving time for his spying, to flee to the Soviet Union while he was on compassionate leave on February 28th – obviously a set up for the shooting. By the time it occurred, Walker had so worked her away into the Swedish Security Service’s (Spo’s) confidence that it bugged the phones and office of the KGB residency in anticipation that Bergling would be calling for help on the night. Spo had been responsible for the recruitment of bodyguards to protect the leading public officials, and to see that their performance was periodically reassessed by British experts.
To punish Moscow when the assassination occurred, Navy Secretary Lehman sent a massive wave of attack submarinestowards the Barents Sea to degrade the Soviet “boomers” so devastatingly by thesurprisethat the Soviets would be forced to capitulate.(For details of the movement, see Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew, Blind Man’s Bluff, esp. pp. 426-7.) This would be the idealsolution to the conflict as it would not cause a nuclear exchange, resulting inmassive losses of innocent life and useful property. As soon as attack submarines had done the essential kills, NATO’s Anchor Express Exercise, backed upby the American Atlantic Fleet’s Operation Eagle, would sweep across Finnmark in northern Norway to destroywhatever Soviet resistance was left on the Kola Peninsula.
Fortunately, the plans to blame the assassination on the Soviets failed miserably, thanks to the spying for Moscow by the Agency’s Aldrich ‘Rick’ Ames, the Bureau’s Robert Hanssen, and others.Therewould beno flight by Bergling, no calls to the KGB residency on the fatal night, andall the double agents in USSR completely under controlbecause Moscow was onfull alert for any surprise. If it had not been, and the shooting had started, the West would have beenreduced tonuclear rubble because the Soviets had 82, nuclear-armed SS-23 missiles in East Germany and the USSR, unknown to Western intelligence, and ready to go under the command of its biggesthawk, Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov.
During the countdown to the assassination in Stockholm, it seems, US and British representatives to NATO’s Special Operations Planning Staff (SOPS) had persuaded other members during its deliberations that the arms consortium YGGDRASIL was in the process of arranging its own assassination, so there were all kinds of lookouts, decoys, and the like running around the Swedish capital during Palme’s last days while a KMS reassessment team, including Hayward apparently, and using walkie-talkies, checked onthe performance of his bodyguards. This new group of decoys, largely consisting of Nazis and police officers, was just to provide more confusion and suspects when the murder occurred. It had largely been organized by Viktor Gunnarsson, thanks to the proddingby leading Contra Felipe Vidal aka Charles Morgan after he had failed to recruit mercenaries either in Sweden or England to do the job.
Despite the unprecedented announcement by KGB Chief Viktor Chebrikov on the morning of the assassination that the West’s whole double agent operation against the USSR had been rounded up (See, e. g., Christopher Walker’s front page story in The Times on the day after.), Washington and London went ahead with Operation Tree, Rennie apparently cutting down the statsminister easilyafter he returnedunprotected from thecinema with his wife. Even the feared Danish general election had passed without left-wing gains a few days before.If the assassination had not happened then, there would be other opportunities. Palme was a doomed man. Fortunately, the rest of us did not start to join himafter February 28th.