Agneta Norberg Vice Chair of the Swedish Peace Council

Militarization of the Arctic: ‘We have to rethink how war is fought’ – Norberg

Militarization of the Arctic: ‘We have to rethink how war is fought’ Agneta Norberg

30 January, 11:02  Download audio file

As the Arctic ice continues to melt and resources slowly begin to be available the West has decided to begin the militarization of the Arctic zone in a bid to gain control over the precious resources. In an interview with the Voice of Russia Agenta Norberg, Vice Chair of the Swedish Peace Council gives her views on the issue and also comments on the militarization of Sweden, Norway and the North and the NATO expansion into "neutral" areas.

Robles: I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about NATO, in the Arctic, in particular, can you tell our listeners about the radar installations and satellite communications equipment they have set up in Norway and in Scandinavia?

Norberg: Well, I’m not a technician but I can tell you that recently it was published: a book the Satellite War by Bård Wormdal – a journalist at Norwegian radio. And it was a very important book, it was published in 2011.

I invited him to Stockholm in October when we had a day about the Arctic and the situation in the Arctic. And what he says is rather? You have to change your whole idea of how war is conducted. War is conducted via satellite and via radar installations.

And for instance, to make it clear, to understand what we should understand is: that the war on Libya, the former year, was conducted via satellite from Svalbard. This is very dangerous because, this island, the Svalbard Islands are a peace area undersigned by 14 different nations but Norway has allowed the United States of America to deploy radar installations, and in connection with the satellite they are conducting war. This is a quite new understanding of how war is conducted.

Robles: NATO and the US, they claim that their missiles, that are now surrounding Russia and their radar installations all over the world, that these are somehow a defensive shield.

Norberg: You have to differ between all these: the national missile defense, they call it. The Vardo radar close to the Russian border is one installation, and there are also those in Poland and in Turkey, and they will also be deployed in Romania it is a missiles shield. It is one thing.

The other thing are all the other radars and satellites which are informing the pilots and the war planes how to bomb and where to bomb. I have a globe here in front of me and it is almost all covered by US radar installations for different purposes. So, you have this national missile shield, which they claim is for defense, and it is an offensive weapon. It can be used as defensive but it can as well be used as an offensive weapon. And one of those radars are installed just outside the Russian border in Vardo.

I’ve been rather surprised when I’ve met Russian scientists and visitors in Stockholm, last year in October, I arranged a seminar as I mentioned about the Arctic, and the Russian representative, he didn’t agree with me that this was a dangerous situation. The only one who agreed with me was Bård Wormdal, the journalist who had written the book Satellite War.

There seems to be lack of understanding about the installations surrounding the Russian border, that is my opinion. And I think it is rather dangerous.

Robles: Why did the Russian expert disagree with you?

Norberg: Because he said that the Vardo radar is not dangerous, and I disagreed with him. And also Bård Wormdal disagreed with him.

This Vardo radar, a few kilometers outside Russian border, is rather dangerous because it is in the missile defense system, so called missile defense system. So, I think he was not aware of this. We disagreed rather strong on this matter and that’s why I’m very happy that you called me so I can tell this.

Robles: There hasn’t been much news about that. Now, as far as NATO and the Arctic in the north and Scandinavia and Canada, can you give us some details about NATO’s plans and their current activities, especially in the Arctic, as it is opening up, and resources are becoming available that were not available before?

Norberg: Then I think I will drift back to Sweden because during the last years, starting with 2007, there’ve been huge war maneuvers on the Swedish and Norwegian soil, with all NATO, and specifically the American State participating in huge maneuvers in the north.

They were called for instance: Nordic Air Meet in 2007 where a lot of countries took part, and then in 2009, it was Loyal Arrow: history’s largest air maneuver in the northern part of Sweden and Norway, and also Finland was the area. And then it continued with the Cold Response №1, a winter maneuver in the northern part of Sweden and northern Norway. And it continued in March 2012 with the Cold Response №2 with 16,500 soldiers from 15 different countries. And then after this you had last autumn a huge maneuver in the north called Nordic Air Meet №2.

So, there are ongoing military war games and some Russian military has protested, specifically against Cold Response №2.

Nobody in Sweden would have known about this unless 5 Norwegian personnel crashed into Kebnekaise, a mountain in the northern Sweden, we would never have known about these 16,500 troop military maneuver.

So, it is ongoing, not on daily basis, but certainly every year it is about two huge maneuvers in the north, and even in the south, in the Baltic. And this should be highlighted I think.

Robles: Now… Sweden as I understand is a neutral country, one point: how does Sweden officially explain that they allowed these installations? And do you think all these maneuvers are designed to intimidate Russia or to try to exercise sovereignty on the Arctic? And in that regard, what moves have they made to try to establish their own sovereignty over Arctic areas that were in dispute?

Norberg: Well, when we drift to Arctic I think there are two things going on here. When they are interviewed, those who are in charge of these maneuvers, they always answer that this is for the Arctic. They openly express this. These maneuvers are for the Arctic and the resources which will be available when the ice is melting.

Sweden No Longer Neutral, Drones Totally Illegal Agneta Norberg 

5 February, 17:00 Download audio file

In part 2 of an interview with the Voice of Russia, Agneta Norberg, Vice Chair of the Swedish Peace Council, Member of Steering Committee in International Peace Bureau and a member of the board of directors of Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space discusses the facts surrounding Sweden's non-neutrality and the country's involvement in NATO and Western military expansion. Ms. Norberg gives her views on drones which she calls "murder machines" and the development and testing of drones in Sweden, including a new drone being developed in a joint European project.

Robles: How does Sweden officially explain that they allow these installations? And do you think all these maneuvers are designed to intimidate Russia or to try to exercise sovereignty on the Arctic?

Norberg: Well, when we drift to Arctic, I think there are two things going on here. When they are interviewed, those who are in charge of these maneuvers, they always answer that this is for the Arctic, they openly express this – these maneuvers are for the Arctic and the resources which will be available when the ice is melting.

But the NATO maneuvers are so seldom covered in the news, in media, specifically not here in the south, I live in Stockholm, up in the north, in the local newspapers they are covered rather extensively. And they used to send quotes from the newspapers for me, otherwise I wouldn’t have known it, because the media doesn’t cover it in the south, in Stockholm, where most of the people live.

So, it is, a sort of: secretly hidden from the public to understand what is really going on. But when they are asked, they say: this is for the Arctic.

And also one thing I think you’ve mentioned is that Sweden is neutral. Forget that! We are not neutral! We have for long abolished the neutrality. We are not non-aligned; we are nothing, because we are openly conducting war games with NATO.

But there is one difficulty because the people in Sweden and in Finland are against. It is only about 19% of the Swedish population that accept NATO, the others don’t. So, they have that problem here.

But I can see the lust, how they try to form an enemy out of Russia, and you should understand this: how Russia now is demonized, again. And I’m so old, so I remember how they were demonizing the former Soviet Union, always, and almost on daily basis. And now we are there again.

So, we have here in one of the latest (Names Swedish newspaper in Swedish) a picture of Putin and Russia is arming, here, and how the Russian bear now starts showing its muscles. So, at the same time, as you have these military maneuvers and military flexing of muscles, you seldom get information to the public here.

I was speaking in Norway last summer and they didn’t know about these things. I’m very often on speaking tours in the north. I was in Finland last autumn and they didn’t know about these military maneuvers either. They were really shocked when I told them.

So, here we are again, from the Cold War days, gradually Russia is the threat. And when I talk to Russian people they are not aware of this. It is like when I was travelling in the former Soviet Union, they were not aware of how you were depicted and described as a big-big threat. And I think we are there again, hiding what the NATO is doing in our country and in the north, and describing the threat of Russia coming. There we are again.

Robles: Would you say it is worse than it was in the Soviet times?

Norberg: It is about the same now. We are in square one, we are back in the Cold War sentiment in a way. But it is even worse now because during the Cold War, at least Sweden had a posture that we are non-aligned and neutral. Not anymore! We have left our neutrality, we have left our non-aligned posture.

Not openly, the neutrality we have left openly, but not the non-aligned posture. I can give you an example: they are now training in the North America (for) war in Nevada.

They were training together with the US in 2006 in Alaska. They went with 6 or 7 war planes to Alaska and made a huge maneuver outside North Korea together with the US.

So, we are actively joining in different parts of the world. Of course we are in Afghanistan now.

And so I think you have to start to understand that Sweden has quite another position now and we are a NATO country. It is only a document that is left to be done. That’s the situation now in Sweden.

Robles: Can you tell us a little bit about what you think the US and NATO’s plans are for the Arctic?

Norberg: I can see that they are making a lot of war games together up in the north.

And I also know that the US and Canada are the same, I mean they are in the same organization. Canada has lost much of what they had before. I have a map in front of me where I have all the installations, and the North American-Canada Command had merged together.

So, up in the north you have a very strong militarization from Canada's point of view and they are building up their military as never before.

And one thing that I think is important to mention is the drones. Canada is planning for a huge drone fleet, and so is Sweden. Now we have one of the world’s biggest drones which is ready in the North European Airspace Test Range which is one of the biggest in Europe for training drones.

Robles: What’s your opinion on drones?

Norberg: They should be banished, abolished or banned because they are terrible murder…, we call them “murder machines”. They are conducted from Nevada test site. They sit there in front of computers and kill people in Yemen, in Pakistan and many places.

We have a huge training area: as big as Macedonia, called the North European Airspace Test Range in the northern part of Sweden where they train these drones. So, we are in this arms buildup, it’s rather dangerous I think.

The newest one is Neuron. It is a cooperation between Sweden, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland on one of the world’s biggest drones Neuron. That is a prototype that is now ready this year.

Robles: What is your opinion on the legality of drones because the users face no risk?

Norberg: They are totally illegal. You sit in a bunker, you don’t see anything, you just sit in front of a screen and see the target. We call them “murder machines” because these are murders. They “say” they kill Al-Qaeda.

Agneta Norberg is the Vice Chair of the Swedish Peace Council, a member of the Steering Committee in International Peace Bureau and on the board of directors of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.

 

Agneta Norberg is Vice Chair of the Swedish Peace Council,  Member of Steering Committee in International Peace Bureau  (IPB) and on the board of directors Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.  

 

Last Update: 07/16/2017 18:40 +0300

 

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