The most recent episode in the ongoing absurd anti-Russian theater occurred 10 days ago when the Swedish Svenska Dagbladet paper declared that the Swedish military had "intercepted a distress call in Russian on a radio frequency reportedly used by Russia for emergency calls" off the Swedish coast.
Citing unnamed "sources" the newspaper claimed that the call was "encrypted radio traffic between a location outside of Stockholm and Russia's Baltic enclave, Kaliningrad" and that it "indicated a damaged Russian submarine."
Western media outlets needed no encouragement. Every 'newspaper of record' carried inflammatory headlines like What's Putin's war game? A Russian sub in Swedish waters, as if Putin had already been arrested at the helm of the phantom sub. But the 'Best in Yellow Journalism Class' prize must go to Neocon weekly Foreign Policy Magazine for its Cold War redux headline, with a direct reference to the movie The Hunt for Red October, a sterling piece of pro-Western and anti-Russian Hollywood propaganda:
said the Swedish navy had "no information about any emergency messages suggesting a Russian mini-submarine had run into trouble in Swedish waters and could be damaged, as reported by the Svenska Dagbladet daily."
So if an Admiral in the Swedish Navy has no information about any "emergency messages from a Russian submarine in Swedish waters", where did the Swedish press get that information from? Or did they just make it up as part of the West's information war against Russia?
Whatever the case, the initial report from the Dagbladet appears to have sufficiently rattled the Swedish military that they opted to launch the country's largest military mobilization since the 'Cold War'. Battleships, minesweepers, helicopters and more than 200 troops scoured an area about 30 to 60 kilometers from Stockholm.
With the vivid imaginations of Western journalists set loose, actual ships in the area of the Stockholm archipelago also came under the media's suspicious eye. Last Sunday, a Russian-owned, Liberian-flagged oil tanker, the NS Concord, was touted by the local media as being part of the dastardly Russian plot. The tanker was seen criss-crossing the seas off Sweden, which seemed odd to reporters with no knowledge whatsoever of what constitutes normal or abnormal shipping movements. Even after the Swedish Coastguard stated that the movements of the tanker were normal, the media continued to irresponsibly speculate that the tanker was somehow involved with the non-existent submarine.
The only actual evidence that there was anything in the waters off Stockholm is the image below.
Grenstad was rather noncommittal in his comments on the photo:
"It could be a submarine, or a smaller submarine," said Grenstad. "It could be divers using some form of moped-like underwater vehicle and it could be divers that don't have any business on our territory. This does not belong to us. It is a foreign vessel and we have no indications that there would be any civilians involved in underwater activity."It could also be the Loch Ness monster on vacation for all anyone seems to know. But, apparently, that's not the point. The point was that the story 'got out' that it was a 'Russian submarine' and the hysterical Western media seized on the opportunity to try to scare the bejesus out of the Western public and their politicians (not that it takes much effort to do so) about the 'Russian threat'.
It's not surprising then, that by late last week, the entire $2.2 million farcical operation was called off and had resulted in:
Cold War 'History' Repeats
a fishing pensioner being confused for a Russian spy the commander of the Swedish military calling the incursion "fucked up" the revelation that Sweden's decommissioned anti-submarine warfare helicopters were gathering dust in a museum and no sign of any submarine, much less a Russian one
This isn't the first time that a "Russian submarine in Swedish waters" has caused a stir. Throughout the 1980s, there were hundreds of reports of 'Soviet submarines' lurking around the coasts of Sweden. The first incident that kicked off the 'Soviet sub scare' was 'Whiskey on the rocks', when a Soviet Navy Whiskey-class submarine of the Baltic Fleet ran aground on October 27, 1981, on the south coast of Sweden, approximately 10 km from Karlskrona, one of the larger Swedish naval bases.
The incident resulted in Operation Notvarp, the most advanced known secret submarine hunting operation ever undertaken by Sweden's Armed Forces. During the operation, all of Sweden's submarine hunting forces concentrated in one location following a number of suspected intrusions. This "submarine fishing" operation implied trapping a presumed foreign submarine and forcing it to the surface by dropping depth charges. Not a single submarine surfaced as a result.
In his book The Secret War against Sweden US and British Submarine deception in the 1980s, Cold War historian Professor Ola Tunander states that the evidence suggests that the vast majority of these alleged 'intrusions' were manipulated or simply invented by the US and UK governments.
Tunander's revelations make it clear that the United States and Britain ran a "secret war" in Swedish waters that created the impression that Soviet subs were in Swedish waters when, in reality, they were American and British vessels. The aim was to spook Swedish and other European populations and politicians into believing that the Soviet threat was both dire and imminent. The operation was, it seems, rather successful. Between 1980-83 the number of Swedes perceiving the Soviet Union as a direct threat increased from 5-10% to 45%, while the number of Swedes who thought Russians were 'unfriendly' rose to 80%. Tunander concludes:
"Although kept very secret, the operation seems to have been a Western - US/UK - operation to test the Swedish capability and will and to deceive the Swedish government, military officers and public in order to convince them about the 'reality' of the Soviet threat. Within a couple of years, the Swedes' reluctance to increase defense spending changed radically: while only 15-20% were in favor of increased military spending in the 1970s, this figure changed to almost 50% after the submarine incidents."The 'Russia submarine in Swedish waters' manipulation of 2014 appears to have produced precisely the same result as the original version in the early 1980s. In the wake of the naval hunt for the fantastical Russian sub, the Swedish government has requested an extra $200million for defense spending over the next four years.
Given that the US government and military has made no secret of the fact that they view the modern Russian Federation as a modern Soviet Union, are dusting off their 'Cold War' playbooks for clues as to how to deal with it, and are publicly pressuring other NATO members to increase defense spending, it seems reasonable to conclude that last week's Russian submarine scare was a replay of events that occurred 30 years ago in the same area. The difference this time is that the US warmongers are facing an 'enemy' that is wise to their game and more inclined to publicly expose such childish manipulations rather than allow the empire builders to capitalize on them by further deceiving and dividing a world in desperate need of truth, and unity around that truth.