Olof Palme/Assassination

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Event.png Olof Palme/Assassination (assassination)
Olof Palme Assassination.jpg
Blood on a street in downtown Stockholm after the assassination of Olof Palme
Date 28 February 1986
Location Sveavägen,  Tunnelgatan,  Stockholm,  Sweden
Blamed on Christer Pettersson
Type Assassination
Deaths 1
Injured (non-fatal) 1

Official Narrative

On 28 February 1986, Olof Palme was assassinated whilst walking home from a cinema with his wife, Lisbet. He died from gunshots fired by a single attacker. Police said that a taxi driver used his radio to raise the alarm. Two young girls sitting in a car close to the scene of the shooting also tried to help the prime minister. He was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival at 00:06 Central European Time (CET) the next day. The commercially-controlled media was very quick to blame the assassination on a "lone-nut" gunman and exclude a political motive.[1]. Two years later, Christer Pettersson, a small-time criminal and drug addict, was arrested, tried and convicted for Palme's murder, but his conviction was later overturned by the Svea Court of Appeal. The crime remains unsolved.

Alternative theories

Eliminated by apartheid South Africa
Just released from jail, Nelson Mandela meets Neil and Glenys Kinnock in Stockholm

Evidence is emerging that Olof Palme's assassination was precipitated by his effective opposition to the policies of powerful geo-political interests, most notable of these being the apartheid South African regime as set out below.[2]

Apartheid South Africa

Circumstantial evidence suggests that Palme may have been killed on the orders of South African President P W Botha's State Security Council (SSC), whose sub-committee member Craig Williamson admitted being the person responsible on the SSC for "target selection".[3] According to Swedish investigative journalist Stieg Larsson, Craig Williamson orchestrated Palme's murder and mercenary Bertil Wedin carried it out.[4] Williamson was granted amnesty for a number of crimes he committed during the apartheid era, but has never applied for amnesty in respect of the murders of Olof Palme, Samora Machel or Bernt Carlsson.[5]

On 21 February 1986, Olof Palme made the keynote speech at the opening session of the 'Swedish People's Parliament Against Apartheid' which was held in Stockholm and attended by hundreds of anti-apartheid sympathisers as well as leaders and officials from the ANC such as Oliver Tambo. In his speech, Olof Palme declared: "Apartheid cannot be reformed, it has to be eliminated" (reproduced in a 1986 poster by Cuban artist Rafael Enriquez). One week later, on 28 February 1986, Olof Palme was murdered.

Olof Palme's protégé and political ally, UN Commissioner for Namibia Bernt Carlsson, died when Pan Am Flight 103 was sabotaged over Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1988. Carlsson was on his way to New York to attend the signing ceremony on 22 December 1988 at United Nations headquarters of an agreement granting independence to Namibia, which had been illegally occupied by apartheid South Africa in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 435.

Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela chose Sweden as his first port of call in Europe because of all the support the ANC had received over many years from the Swedish government, especially from Olof Palme. Ingvar Carlsson, the new prime minister, invited British politicians Neil and Glenys Kinnock to come to Stockholm in April 1990 and greet Mr Mandela. That meeting was recalled by Neil Kinnock in a television interview on 8 December 2013 (three days after Nelson Mandela's death).[6]

2014 Revelations

In February 2014, the Swedish Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper revealed its findings after a report that South Africa lay behind the assassination of Olof Palme. Novelist and journalist Stieg Larsson's long-term partner Ewa Gabrielsson had provided Dagbladet with 15 boxes of material that Larsson had compiled on his quest to solve the murder. Much of the paperwork focused on Cyprus-based Swede Bertil Wedin, with documents stating that the suspected mercenary may have been in contact with South African security services in the run up to the murder of the fierce anti-apartheid critic Palme. SvD reported that Wedin had confessed four years before the murder in a British court case that he had been in touch with South African agent Craig Williamson.[7]

Building upon the Dagbladet story, the BBC Radio 4 programme "Document" of 28 July 2014 - presented by Gordon Corera - supported the South African narrative for Olof Palme's assassination. Corera cited the following as potentially being implicated in Palme's murder:

The accusers were Edward Aspinall, Peter Calcara, Duncan Campbell, Gerry Gable, Barry Gilder, Stieg Larsson, Guardian journalist David Leigh, Tor Sellström and Jan Stoklasa.[8]

Western Intelligence agencies

Trowbridge H. Ford has claimed that Palme was assassinated in partly due to the effectiveness of his opposition to arms deals, and that the assassination went according to plan, the "British and American intelligence services having completely hoodwinked their Swedish counterparts".[9]

Palme, the documentary

The 2012 film Palme

Palme is a Swedish documentary film premiered in Sweden on 14 September 2012 and written by Maud Nycander and Kristina Lindström. The film is a biographical portrait of the former prime minister Olof Palme, and covers his life from childhood to the role as a leading figure of Swedish politics. On general release in 2012, it has been shown as a 103-minute long feature film, and as a 175-minute long TV-movie in three parts on SVT at Christmas and New Year.[10]

Plot

On Friday evening, February 28, 1986 Olof Palme was shot dead in the street. The day after, news reached out to the people that the country's prime minister was dead, and the whole country found itself suddenly shocked.

In the film, one can follow Palme's life from his youth until he is murdered. His long career in the Swedish Social Democratic Party is also shown. Other subjects that the film also treats are more controversial topics, for example the situation with the IB affair. The film focuses on the person Olof Palme, as in almost 26 years has been overshadowed by his sudden death. It contains material from Palme's family that has never been shown in public, private snapshots and family movies.  

Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Ames and Hanssen Driven to Spy by Reckless Double Agent Operationsessay2003Trowbridge Ford
Coup d'etat in slow motionbook2013Ole DammegårdAn in-depth analysis of the events and politics surrounding the assassination of Sweden's Prime Minister Olof Palme.
 

The Official Culprit

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NameDescription
Christer PetterssonA "lone nut" who was imprisoned for the murder of Olof Palme, but released on appeal in light of the lack of evidence.


References