Swedish Disinformation research controversy – links

This is a list of links complementing a list of Integrity Initiative links from some 40 countries and some Atlantic Council links that was compiled by us, Activists for peace (In Swedish: Aktivister för fred) on January 5, 2019.

In early December 2018, Tord Björk from Activists for Peace was once more the target of a smear campaign. In a joint effort by Stockholm Free World Forum, an NGO paid by The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise to promote business interest in security affairs and Atlantic Council, the closer cooperation between environmental and peace movement and linkages to the Green Party was presented as a threat in the report Kremlin’s Trojan Horses 3.0. Tord Björk had written in an article in an environmental magazine that the referendum in Crimea in 2014 was a breach of international law but that a majority of the local population including the Ukrainians supports the outcome. The author of the report, Henrik Sundbom, a fellow at Stockholm Free World Forum, claimed that the article showed to much sympathy with the Russian Crimean narrative.

Last year a close cooperation partner to Henrik Sundbom , Martin Kragh, head of the Russia and Eurasian programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and researcher at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University where he also is Research Director at the Uppsala Forum for Democracy, Peace, and Justice, together with the daily Expressen also started a smear campaign against Tord Björk and Ukrainabulletinen, the newsletter publicized by Activists for peace.

Activists for peace in Make 2019 a year of peace!, January 5, 2019

Below you find an extensive compilation of links in relation to last years scandal.

Note that we have not made any assessment concerning trustworthiness. You have to use your own judgement; preferably by assessing the content rather than the sender. All texts have been included based on that they have some substance and that we have not missed any text.

Most of the links are in Swedish. We are working on translations of the titles so you are welcome back for updates.

Activists for peace has compiled this list in four sections:

  • Some of the main texts and audiofiles of democratic interest
  • Some of the main texts and audiofiles of academic interest
  • Full list with links to articles in chronological order
  • Some further links of interest

Some of the main texts and audiofiles of democratic interest

Kragh, Martin and Åsberg, Sebastian: Russia’s strategy for influence through public diplomacy and active measures: the Swedish case, 1st version January 5, 2017. 

Kragh, Martin and Åsberg, Sebastian: Russia’s strategy for influence through public diplomacy and active measures: the Swedish case, 2nd version Spring 2017.

Svenska Freds och Skiljedomsföreningen: Om desinformation i debatten om värdlandsavtalet med Nato (In English: About disinformation in the debate on the host country agreement with NATO), Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, January 10, 2017.

guardian

Henley, Jon: Russia waging information war against Sweden, study finds – Swedish Institute of International Affairs accuses Russia of using fake news and false, documents to influence opinion, The Guardian, January 11, 2017,

Storöy Elnan, Thea: Svenske medier beskyldes for å spre russisk propaganda. – En grotesk anklage, sier kulturredaktør (In English: Swedish media is accused of spreading Russian propaganda – A grotesque accusation, says culture editor), Aftenposten, January 12, 2017 and revised January 14, 2017.

Nesser, Johannes: Nya anklagelser mot Aftonbladet Kultur, Journalisten, January 13, 2017. 

TT: UI-forskare backar om Svenska Freds (In English: Researcher at Swedish Institute for International Affairs steps back concerning the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society), January 14, 2017. 

Rosenvinge, Therese and Cedersjö, Johan: Propagandabråk och Rysslandsalarmism, Sveriges Radio – Medierna, January 16, 2017.
Interview with Anders Mellbourn, Martin Kragh and others. 

Rågsjö Thorell, Andreas: Larmet om Aftonbladet Kultur sågas – hon kräver att artikeln tas bort, Resumé, January 16, 2017.  

Sachnin, Aleksej: Det är jag som är ”Putins agent” om livet som oppositionell i Ryssland – och om anklagelser från båda sidor, Aftonbladet, January 17, 2017. 

 

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Olsson, Karin: Hemliga namnen i studien om Kremlfjäsk, Expressen Kultur, Expressen, January 18, 2017. 

Nesser, Johannes: Allt du velat veta om Kremlfjäsk men inte orkat ta in, Journalisten, January 20, 2017. 

Björk, Tord: “Vi ville främja dialog över frontlinjen”, Expressen, January 26, 2017. 

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Jordens Vänner: UI-forskare och Expressen svartmålar freds- och miljöaktivister, January 26, 2017.

Jensen, Johannes: Tord Björk: ”De tror på sina egna lögner”, Internationalen, January 18, 2017. 

Activists for peace: The Swedish Institute for International Affairs research scandal. Activists for peace blog, March 5, 2017. 

Activists for Peace: NGOs and research trying to silence peace voices in Sweden, Activists for peace blog, March 5, 2017. 


Some of the main texts and audiofiles of academic interest

The two versions of the desinformation article (see above) and also some other links above.

Five filed complaints directed to Uppsala University, can be obtained from the university.

Two evaluations made on behalf of Uppsala University, can be obtained from the university.

david

Isaksson, David: Svensk kremlologi, Sydsvenskan, January 9, 2017.

Karlsson, Martin (director of Swedish Institute of International Affairs): Med anledning av debatten om artikeln ”Russia’s strategy for influence through public diplomacy,  and active measures: the Swedish case”, Swedish Institute of International Affairs, January 11, 2017.

Lundström, Emma: Desinformationsrapporten som byggde på desinformation, Internationalen, January 11, 2017. 

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Enbom, Jesper and Lindenius: Erik: Desinformation, Mediespanarna #262, Mediespanarna, January 12, 2017. 

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Kälvemark, Torsten: Rapport på villovägar, Tidens tecken, January 12, 2017.

Bröms, Joakim: Lakejer, Bröms blogg, January 12, 2017.

agnes&pierre

Hellström, Agnes and Schori, Pierre: Att kritisera Nato gör oss inte till ryssvänner, Aftonbladet Debatt, January 13, 2017.

Kragh: Martin: Om Svenska Freds och Natofrågan – ett förtydligande (In English: Concerning Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society and the NATO issue – a clarification), Swedish Institute of International Affairs, January 13, 2017. 

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TT: UI-chef tar avstånd från kritiserad studie, MVT, January 13, 2017.  

Enbom, Jesper and Lindenius: Erik: Mer desinformation, Mediespanarna #263, Mediespanarna, January 16, 2017. 

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Hedman, Ulrika: Om vetenskaplighet och förtroende för forskning –  och om mediernas förhållande till vetenskapligheten, Eftertänkt, January 17, 2017.  

Kragh, Martin: “Den Natoskeptiska diskussionen är viktig”, Sydsvenskan, January 17, 2017. 

Kragh, Martin: Om artikeln i Journal of Strategic Studies, ett förtydligande av Martin Kragh, Swedish Institute of International Affairs, January 18, 2017.

Andersson, Tom: Analysen liknar viskningsleken, Aftonbladet, January 19, 2017.

Brandberg, Thomas: Varning för falska nyheter!, Samtiden, January 29, 2017.

Lundström, Emma: Kragh under utredning för oredlighet, Internationalen, January 30, 2017.

Drake, Lars: Anmälan av bristande kvalitét i forskning (UU och UI) Del 1, Synapze, January 30, 2017.

Drake, Lars: Anmälan av bristande kvalitét i forskning Del 2, Synapze, January 30, 2017.

Lundström: Emma: Utredningen av Martin Kragh är ett faktum, Internationalen, February 6, 2017. 

liunt

Bennich-Björkman, Li et.al.: Oriktigt, falskt, grundlöst, UNT Opinion, February 22, 2017. A text in support for the article and the text is signed by Li Bennich-Björkman, Matthew Kott, Claes Levinsson, Sofie Bedford, Sven Eliaeson, Magnus Feldmann, Jessica Giandomenico, Julie Hansen, Michal Smrek, Igor Torbakov from Centrum för Rysslandsstudier, Uppsala universitet. 

Lundström, Emma: Magplask när kollegorna försvarar Kragh, Internationalen, February 22, 2017. 

Andersson, Tom: Kraghs artikel håller inte måttet, UNT Opinion, February 23, 2017. 

Enbom, Jesper and Lindenius, Erik: Äntligen några som verkar villiga att svara på våra frågor!, Mediespanarna blog, February 23, 2017.

Bennich-Björkman, Li et.al.: Trakasserier i stället för saklig debatt, UNT Opinion, February 28, 2017. A text in support for the article signed by Li Bennich-Björkman, Matthew Kott, Claes Levinsson, Sofie Bedford, Sven Eliaeson, Magnus Feldmann, Jessica Giandomenico, Julie Hansen, Michal Smrek, Igor Torbakov from Centrum för Rysslandsstudier, Uppsala universitet.  

torunt

Björk, Tord and Wechselmann, Maj: Kragh faller i sin egen fälla, UNT Opinion, February 28, 2017.  

Lundström, Emma: Martin Kragh snubblar på Egor Putilov, Internationalen, 28 February 2017. 

mats

Johansson, Mats: Åsa Linderborgs heder och yttrandefriheten, SvD, February 28, 2017. Written by Mats Johansson, guest editorial and founder of Stockholm Free World Forum In Swedish: FriVärld).

Brattberg, Erik: Sveriges säkerhetspolitiska förhållande med USA i en ny tid, McCain Institute for International Leadership, March 2017. 

Ackfeldt, Anders et al.: Undermålig forskning i svensk myndighetsrapport, Religionsvetenskapliga kommentarer blog, March 2, 2017.
Text signed by Anders Ackfeldt (Lunds Universitet), Jenny Berglund (Södertörns högskola), Frédéric Brusi (Stockholms universitet), Johan Cato (Lunds universitet), Güney Dogan (Göteborgs universitet), Mohammad Fazlhashemi (Uppsala universitet), Mattias Gardell
(Uppsala universitet), 
Jan Hjärpe (Lunds universitet), Torsten Hylén (Högskolan i Dalarna), Andreas Johansson (Linneuniversitetet), Pia Karlsson Minganti (Stockholms universitet), Karin Kittelmann Flensner (Högskolan i väst), Göran Larsson (Göteborgs universitet), Susanne Olsson (Stockholms universitet), Jonas Otterbeck (Lunds universitet), Emin Poljarevic (Uppsala Universitet), Åke Sander (Göteborgs universitet)Simon Sorgenfrei (Södertörns högskola), Simon Stjernholm (Köpenhamns universitet), Leif Stenberg (Centrum för Mellanösternstudier, Lund), Jonas Svensson (Linnéuniversitetet) and Lenita Törning (Birkbeck, University of London)

Enbom, Jesper and Lindenius, Erik: Den ovetenskapliga rapporten, Mediespanarna #271,  March 14, 2017.
The non-scientific report by Kragh and Åsberg is compared with a MSB report which was heavily criticized in the same way as this report by these two researchers at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

nimmo

Nimmo, Ben: Failures and adaptations: Kremlin propaganda in Finland and Sweden, The Policy Policy Centre, March 21, 2017. 

Drake, Lars: Kraghartikeln: sågad men inte fälld, Synapze, April 9, 2017.

krigsaka

Arvidsson, Claes: Desinformation till husbehov, Kungliga Krigsvetenskapsakademin (In English: The Royal Swedish Academy for War Sciences), April 24, 2017.

Enbom, Jesper and Lindenius, Erik: Akademisk desinformation, Mediespanarna #284, June 6, 2017.

emmavet

Lundström, Emma: Martin Kraghs desinformationsartikel får hård vetenskaplig kritik, Internationalen, June 27, 2017. 


Full list with links to articles in chronological order

Kragh, Martin and Åsberg, Sebastian: Russia’s strategy for influence through public diplomacy and active measures: the Swedish case, Journal of Strategic Studies, Volume 40 – Issue 6, January 5, 2017.
The text is available in two versions and is written by Martin Kragh (Associate Professor at the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies and head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs) and Sebastian Åsberg (Russia and Eurasia Programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and MA in War Studies from King’s College London).

The issue of Russia’s relations with western Europe became even more fraught on Saturday, when Sweden’s most respected foreign policy institute accused it of using underhand methods in an “information war”, including fake news, counterfeit documents, and other disinformation, to influence Swedish decision-making.

The report by Martin Kragh, a Russia expert at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, said Russia was using ‘active measures’ in its information war against Sweden, in a bid to steer it away from joining Nato.

Patrik Sawer and Raf Sanchez, The Telegraph, January 7, 2017.

Sawer, Patrick and Sanchez, Raf: Donald Trump says it would be ‘stupid’ for US not to build close ties with Russia, despite election hacking evidenceThe Telegraph, January 7, 2017.
A comment to strengthen wider concern for Russian influence in Western countries: Donald Trump says it would be ‘stupid’ for US not to build close ties with Russia, despite election hacking evidence. 

TT: UI: Ryssland försöker sprida falska nyheter, Folkbladet, January 7, 2017.

Thornéus, Ebba: Ny studie: Rysk spridning av falska nyheter ökar i Sverige, Aftonbladet, January 7, 2017. 

dn

Dagens Nyheter: Ny studie: Rysk spridning av falska nyheter i Sverige ökar, Dagens Nyheter, January 7, 2017.

Note! Many more daily Swedish newspapers published texts on January 7, 2017 about the text written by Kragh and Åsberg. Many used a telegram from TT as source and all of them headlined their text with expressions like “New report: Russian disinformation is increasing in Sweden” or “Swedish Institute of International Affairs: Russia is attempting to spread fake news (in Sweden)“.

Peterson, David: Svensk studie: Ryssland försöker sprida falska nyheter, FNB-Hbl, January 7, 2017. 

Oksanen, Patrik: Desinformation: Här är 26 ryska förfalskningar som spridits i Sverige, Hela Hälsingland, January 7, 2017.

karin1

Olsson, Karin: Vill Aftonbladet låta som Putin-press?, Expressen Kultur, January 8, 2017.

Reckman, Andrew: US warns Europe on Russian election hacking, EU Observer, January 9, 2017. 

Isaksson, David: Svensk kremlologi, Sydsvenskan Kultur, January 5, 2017.

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Aagård, Martin: Häxjakten måste fåett slut, Aftonbladet Kultur, January 9, 2017. 

Borås Tidning Ledare: Ledare: Varför hjälper Lennart Andreasson Putin?, Borås Tidning Editorial, January 9, 2017.

Nordfront: Utrikespolitiska institutet skriver ”vetenskaplig” rapport – Motståndsrörelsen utpekas som ”pro-Kreml”, Nordfront, January 9, 2017.

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Linderborg, Åsa: Försvara det fria ordet  – om Utrikespolitiska institutets rapport, bristande källkritik och informationskriget i Natofrågan, Aftonbladet Kultur, January 10, 2017.

Svenska Freds och Skiljedomsföreningen: Om desinformation i debatten om värdlandsavtalet med NatoSwedish Peace and Arbitration Society, January 10, 2017.

Wissenschaftler und Sicherheitsexperten in Schweden sehen eine gezielte Kampagne Russlands, um die politische Debatte im Land zu beeinflussen.“, 

Claudia von Salzen, Tagesspiegel, January 10, 2017.

von Salzen, Claudia: Studie zu Einflussnahme Russlands in Schweden – Drohungen und gefälschte Briefe. Tagesspiegel, January 10, 2017. 

Sommelius, Sören: UI och häxjakten på Aftonbladet Kultur, Nya Kultur-Sörens blogg, January 10, 2017.

Jerlerup, Torbjörn: Om Aftonbladet och rysk och ukrainsk disinformation, Den arga sossen! blogg, January 10, 2017.

Fraurud, Anders: Ryssland, Ryssland, Ryssland…, Pepprat rödgrönt blogg, January 10, 2017.

Swedish Institute of International Affairs accuses Russia of using fake news and false, documents to influence opinion.”

John Henley, The Guardian, January 11, 2017.

Henley, John: Russia waging information war against Sweden, study finds, The Guardian, January 11, 2017.

Russians carried out an anti-NATO fake news and disinformation campaign in the past two years, according to a comprehensive study.

Russia’s propaganda machine reportedly extends far beyond its alleged interference in the U.S. elections. It also took “active measures” to exert “covert influence” on public opinion and decision making in Sweden, according to a report the Swedish Institute of International Affairs released last week.”

Willa Frej, Huffington Post, January 11, 2017.

Frej, Willa: Russia Spread Fake News And Disinformation In Sweden, Huffington Post, January 11, 2017.

Karlsson, Martin (director of Swedish Institute of International Affairs): Med anledning av debatten om artikeln ”Russia’s strategy for influence through public diplomacy,  and active measures: the Swedish case”, Swedish Institute of International Affairs, January 11, 2017.

Storöy Elnan, Thea: Svenske medier beskyldes for å spre russisk propaganda. – En grotesk anklage, sier kulturredaktør (In English: Swedish media is accused of spreading Russian propaganda – A grotesque accusation, says culture editor), Aftenposten, January 12, 2017 and revised January 14, 2017.

Lundström, Emma: Desinformationsrapporten som byggde på desinformation, Internationalen, January 11, 2017. 

Enbom, Jesper and Lindenius: Erik: Desinformation, Mediespanarna #262, Mediespanarna, January 12, 2017. 

Kälvemark, Torsten: Rapport på villovägar, Tidens tecken, January 12, 2017.

Bröms, Joakim: Lakejer, Bröms blogg, January 12, 2017.

Hellström, Agnes and Schori, Pierre: Att kritisera Nato gör oss inte till ryssvänner, Aftonbladet Debatt, January 13, 2017.

Kragh: Martin: Om Svenska Freds och Natofrågan – ett förtydligande (In English: Concerning Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society and the NATO issue – a clarification), Swedish Institute of International Affairs, January 13, 2017. 

Drake, Lars: “Analys” av rysk propaganda eller desinformation om desinformation, Synapze, January 13, 2017.

TT: UI-chef tar avstånd från kritiserad studie, MVT, January 13, 2017.  

TT: Hård kritik mot UI-artikel om Ryssland, Expresssen, January 13, 2017.

Journalisten, 2017 Jan 13, Nya anklagelser mot Aftonbladet Kultur, Johannes Nesser
https://www.journalisten.se/nyheter/aftonbladet-anklagas-kremlpropaganda

Mansfield, Kate: Putin accused of undermining Sweden with intelligence campaign to threaten NATO, Express UK, January 13, 2017.
This text contains a video interview with Swedish military who says Russia is a clear instigator of activities of influence in Sweden. Translation to English is available for the interview.

Subramanian, Samanth: Swedish institute accuses Russia of spreading ‘fake news’, The National, January 13, 2017.
Comment from Activists for peace: Swedish institute refers to Swedish Institute for International Affairs.

TT: UI-forskare backar om Svenska Freds (In English: Researcher at Swedish Institute for International Affairs steps back concerning the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society), January 14, 2017. 

AfricaMetro, Russia spreading fake news, counterfeit documents, and other disinformation in Sweden: report, AfrikaMetro, January 14, 2017.

Aliki, Ailas: Det finns bara ett propagandakrig, ETC, January 15, 2017.

Rosenvinge, Therese and Cedersjö, Johan: Propagandabråk och Rysslandsalarmism, Sveriges Radio – Medierna, January 16, 2017.
Interview with Anders Mellbourn, Martin Kragh and others. 

Romelsjö, Anders: Martin Kraghs ”Analys” av rysk propaganda eller desinformation om disinformation, Jinge blog, January 14, 2017.

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Enbom, Jesper and Lindenius: Erik: Mer desinformation, Mediespanarna #263, Mediespanarna, January 16, 2017. 

Linderborg, Åsa: “De här ryktena måste vi döda”, Dagens media, January 16, 2017.

Rågsjö Thorell, Andreas: Larmet om Aftonbladet Kultur sågas – hon kräver att artikeln tas bort, Resumé, January 16, 2017.  

Hedman, Ulrika: Om vetenskaplighet och förtroende för forskning –  och om mediernas förhållande till vetenskapligheten, Eftertänkt, January 17, 2017.

Wilderäng, Lars: Vad Aftonbladet Kultur inte säger om sitt spridande av Kremls lögner, Cornucopia blog, January 17, 2017.

Sachnin, Aleksej: Det är jag som är ”Putins agent” om livet som oppositionell i Ryssland – och om anklagelser från båda sidor, Aftonbladet, January 17, 2017. 

Sachnin, Aleksej/Сахнин, Алексей: Размышления агента, EchoMSK, January 17, 2017.

Björkman, Fredrik: Aftonbladet-skribent i rysk media: Inte långt från repression i Sverige, Sverige Radio, January 23, 2017.

Kragh, Martin: “Den Natoskeptiska diskussionen är viktig”, Sydsvenskan, January 17, 2017. 

Olsson, Karin: Hemliga namnen i studien om Kremlfjäsk, Expressen Kultur, Expressen, January 18, 2017. 

Lundström, Emma: Utrikespolitiska Institutet borde ta ansvar för Kraghs fiasko, Internationalen, January 18, 2017.

Kragh, Martin: Om artikeln i Journal of Strategic Studies, ett förtydligande av Martin Kragh, Swedish Institute of International Affairs, January 18, 2017.

Ring, Britta: McCarthyismen är tillbaka i den svenska offentligheten, Flamman, January 18, 2017.

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Andersson, Tom: Analysen liknar viskningsleken, Aftonbladet, January 19, 2017.

Eakin, Hugh: The Swedish Kings of Cyberwar, The New York Review of Books, January 19, 2017.

Nesser, Johannes: Allt du velat veta om Kremlfjäsk men inte orkat ta in, Journalisten, January 20, 2017. 

Svensson, Anders: Desinformatören Martin Kragh – slut som forskare?, Svensson blog, January 21, 2017.

Björk, Tord: “Vi ville främja dialog över frontlinjen”, Expressen, January 26, 2017. 

Jordens Vänner: UI-forskare och Expressen svartmålar freds- och miljöaktivister, January 26, 2017.

Jensen, Johannes: Tord Björk: ”De tror på sina egna lögner”, Internationalen, January 18, 2017. 

Brandberg, Thomas: Varning för falska nyheter!, Samtiden, January 29, 2017.

Lundström, Emma: Kragh under utredning för oredlighet, Internationalen, January 30, 2017.

Drake, Lars: Anmälan av bristande kvalitét i forskning (UU och UI) Del 1, Synapze, January 30, 2017.

Drake, Lars: Anmälan av bristande kvalitét i forskning Del 2, Synapze, January 30, 2017.

Lundström: Emma: Utredningen av Martin Kragh är ett faktum, Internationalen, February 6, 2017. 

USC Center on Public Diplomacy: Russia’s Active Measures: The Case of Sweden, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, February 7, 2017.

Bennich-Björkman, Li et.al.: Oriktigt, falskt, grundlöst, UNT Opinion, February 22, 2017. A text in support for the article and the text is signed by Li Bennich-Björkman, Matthew Kott, Claes Levinsson, Sofie Bedford, Sven Eliaeson, Magnus Feldmann, Jessica Giandomenico, Julie Hansen, Michal Smrek, Igor Torbakov from Centrum för Rysslandsstudier, Uppsala universitet. 

Lundström, Emma: Magplask när kollegorna försvarar Kragh, Internationalen, February 22, 2017. 

Andersson, Tom: Kraghs artikel håller inte måttet, UNT Opinion, February 23, 2017. 

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Enbom, Jesper and Lindenius, Erik: Äntligen några som verkar villiga att svara på våra frågor!, Mediespanarna blog, February 23, 2017.

Kniivilä, Kalle: Vad stod det i Martin Kraghs rapport?, Kalle Kniivilä’s blog, February 26, 2017.

Fraurud, Anders: En debatt som fortsatt…i Uppsala – och lästips till den, Pepprat rödgrönt, February 27, 2017.

Bennich-Björkman, Li et.al.: Trakasserier i stället för saklig debatt, UNT Opinion, February 28, 2017. A text in support for the article signed by Li Bennich-Björkman, Matthew Kott, Claes Levinsson, Sofie Bedford, Sven Eliaeson, Magnus Feldmann, Jessica Giandomenico, Julie Hansen, Michal Smrek, Igor Torbakov from Centrum för Rysslandsstudier, Uppsala universitet.  

Björk, Tord and Wechselmann, Maj: Kragh faller i sin egen fälla, UNT Opinion, February 28, 2017.  

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Lundström, Emma: Martin Kragh snubblar på Egor Putilov, Internationalen, 28 February 2017. 

Johansson, Mats: Åsa Linderborgs heder och yttrandefriheten, SvD, February 28, 2017. Written by Mats Johansson, guest editorial and founder of Stockholm Free World Forum In Swedish: FriVärld).

Ackfeldt, Anders et al.: Undermålig forskning i svensk myndighetsrapport, Religionsvetenskapliga kommentarer blog, March 2, 2017.
Text signed by Anders Ackfeldt (Lunds Universitet), Jenny Berglund (Södertörns högskola), Frédéric Brusi (Stockholms universitet), Johan Cato (Lunds universitet), Güney Dogan (Göteborgs universitet), Mohammad Fazlhashemi (Uppsala universitet), Mattias Gardell
(Uppsala universitet), 
Jan Hjärpe (Lunds universitet), Torsten Hylén (Högskolan i Dalarna), Andreas Johansson (Linneuniversitetet), Pia Karlsson Minganti (Stockholms universitet), Karin Kittelmann Flensner (Högskolan i väst), Göran Larsson (Göteborgs universitet), Susanne Olsson (Stockholms universitet), Jonas Otterbeck (Lunds universitet), Emin Poljarevic (Uppsala Universitet), Åke Sander (Göteborgs universitet)Simon Sorgenfrei (Södertörns högskola), Simon Stjernholm (Köpenhamns universitet), Leif Stenberg (Centrum för Mellanösternstudier, Lund), Jonas Svensson (Linnéuniversitetet) and Lenita Törning (Birkbeck, University of London)

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Activists for peace: The Swedish Institute for International Affairs research scandal, Activists for peace blog: March 5, 2017. 

Activists for peace: NGOs and research trying to silence peace voices in Sweden, Activists for peace blog, March 5, 2017.

Activists for peace: To all peace loving people in Europe and the world – Time to join hands for peace in Ukraine, Activists for Peace blog, March 7, 2017. 

Yates, Bill: The Swedish Trump fans who secretly record journalists, BBC, March 7, 2017.

Rademaker, Michel and Sweijs, Tim: Hoe beschermen wij ons tegen Russische desinformatie?, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies Report, March 13, 2017. 

Enbom, Jesper and Lindenius, Erik: Den ovetenskapliga rapporten, Mediespanarna #271,  March 14, 2017.
The non-scientific report by Kragh and Åsberg is compared with a MSB report which was heavily criticized in the same way as this report by these two researchers at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

Nimmo, Ben: Failures and adaptations: Kremlin propaganda in Finland and Sweden, The Policy Policy Centre, March 21, 2017. 

Hoffman, Francis G.: Statement before the House Armed Services Committee on The Evolution of Hybrid Warfare and Key Challenges, United States House of Representatives, March 22, 2017.
Francis G. Hoffman is Ph.D. affiliated to the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University,

Brattberg, Erik: Sveriges säkerhetspolitiska förhållande med USA i en ny tid, McCain Institute for International Leadership, March 2017. 

Lundström, Emma: Skamlösa borgare leker med elden, Internationalen, April 4, 2017.

Drake, Lars: Kraghartikeln: sågad men inte fälld, Synapze, April 9, 2017.

Arvidsson, Claes: Desinformation till husbehov, Kungliga Krigsvetenskapsakademin (In English: The Royal Swedish Academy for War Sciences), April 24, 2017.

Enbom, Jesper and Lindenius, Erik: Akademisk desinformation, Mediespanarna #284, June 6, 2017.

Oksanen, Patrik: Oksanen: AB Kultur + RT = sant, Allehanda Editorial, June 15, 2017.

Lindros, Ingemo: Banden stärks mellan svenska högerextremister och Putins maskineri, YLE, June 19, 2017.

Lundström, Emma: Martin Kraghs desinformationsartikel får hård vetenskaplig kritik, Internationalen, June 27, 2017. 

ecfr

Galeotti, Mark: Controlling Chaos: How Russia manages its political war in Europe, European Council on Foreign Relations, September 1, 2017.

euvalues2017

Since 2014, Russia has moved towards a preference for active measures towards Sweden. Forgeries in Swedish information space have been amongst various tools Russia has used there, for example false evidence of misbehavior or incompetence of the West or the Swedish politicians and decision makers. The level of detail suggests that the originators of the documents have access to comprehensive intelligence on Swedish society. As we have seen in different parts of Europe, Sweden also has its farright and far-left populist movements and projects with connections to Russia, for example the Nordic Resistance, a fascist organization which has cooperated with Rodina party and the Russian Imperial Movement, or the interlocutor of a pro-Kremlin left narrative, tabloid called Aftonbladet.

Krejčí, Markéta: European values, Kremlin Watch Report, October 14, 2017.

Krejčí, Markéta: Kremlin Watch Reader 2017, European values, Kremlin Watch Report, October 14, 2017.

Some further links of interest

Melin, Kristina: A New Russian Idea? – Neo-Eurasianist Ideas in the Russian Presidential Addresses to the Federal Assembly 2014 – 2016, Paper for a Bachelor Degree by Kristina Melin, Department of Government, Uppsala University, March 2017. Direct link to download the text in PDF-format.

Lewandowsky, Stephan; et al: Beyond Misinformation: Understanding and coping with the post-truth era, Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition Number 6, Issue 4, pp. 353-369.
Paper written by Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol and University of Western Australia, Ullrich K. H. Ecker, University of Western Australia and John Cook, George Mason University. Direct link to download the text in PDF-format.

connections

DanykYuriy et al.: Hybrid War: High-tech, Information and Cyber Conflicts, Connections QJ 16, no. 2 (2017), pp 5-24.
Paper written by Danyk, Yuriy; Tamara Maliarchuk; Chad Briggs published in Connections which is “a quarterly academic journal covering security, defense, armed forces, conflict, intelligence, history, war, and related issues”. Connections was established in 2002 by the Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes. Direct link to download the text in PDF-format.

 

 

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NGOs and research trying to silence peace voices in Sweden

Note: Portions of this text are published as separate posts. Observe the links to read the full text.

In Sweden and many other places elsewhere in the West, there are forces in the society that have been suppressing a free discussion about the Ukrainian crisis. In Sweden, our efforts to use our right of freedom of expression have been met by a wide range of methods to silence opposition against the Ukrainian crisis policy of Sweden.

Opposing peace initiatives is a way to promote closer relationship with NATO

From the very start of the Ukrainian conflict, forces in the Swedish society that want closer ties to NATO have been using methods to silence voices for peace. Any attempt to promote constructive solutions to the Ukrainian crisis and dialogue across the front lines between West and East has been stamped as acts in the interest of Russia or very often involving an allegation of “Putin agents.” This smear campaign includes the former international diplomat Hans Blix – a liberal well known after his role as head of the team controlling weapons of mass destruction facilities in Iraq and opposing the war in 2003. It also includes Sven Hirdman – a conservative former Swedish ambassador to Russia – and several former social democratic ministers.

A massive consensus in main stream media has almost on a daily basis, often several times during the same day, presented Russia – frequently personalized by Putin – as a threat against Sweden, peace and the world. The crisis in Ukraine is used as the constant argument why Russia should be regarded as an aggressive part while Sweden is only defender of human rights and international order.

The state funded NGO ABF stopped an exhibition about Odessa and Donbass

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From a short documentary shown during Swedish exhibitions on Odessa and Donbass, February 2015.

In 2015, a photo exhibition about the Odessa massacre and photos from civilians suffering during the war in Donbass was cancelled by the largest state funded educational organization in Sweden – ABF in Malmö and in Helsingborg.

Read more by following this link.

The Swedish left made itself passive

The left has allowed itself to be silenced about the Ukrainian conflict by a state funded anarcho-syndicalist newspapers and NGOs. While the Odessa massacre sparked a wide interest in different Swedish left-wing circles, several Swedish neo-Nazi activists went to Ukraine to take part in the war against Donbass in volunteer battalions. This interest among leftists was quickly undermined and turned into passivity.

Read more by following this link.

State funded Swedish NGOs turn a blind eye to systematic violations of human right

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The Swedish NGOs that don’t see, don’t hear and don’t speak.
Source: Aktivister för fred.

The NGOs Östgruppen för demokrati och rättigheter and Ordfront also systematically together with PEN Sweden, silenced any knowledge from their websites about the systematic violations of human rights in Ukraine while, together with hundreds of cases in Russia, violations against human rights in DPR and LPR as well as Crimea gets extensive coverage by these organizations.

There is not a single case from Ukraine reported since the overthrow of Yanukovych in February 2014 until 2017. This is silenced while presidential candidates were violently attacked several times, four opposition parties got their offices stormed by the right-wing extremists, their membership register stolen or were stopped from acting openly by other means. Also, secret prisons are run by the Ukrainian security police and mass murder takes place with the consent of the government.

NGOs act against a documentary exposing fascist violence in Ukraine

Read more by following this link.

Egor Putilov becomes useful again during summer 2016

There are many outlandish “too good to be true” stories in the way Swedish mainstream media and politicians tried to silence the Swedish peace opposition. One of the most outlandish is the way Egor Putilov has been used by these stories several times. First, he was used as a journalist in the left-wing media and the biggest daily exposing “pseudo” left activists who, as he put it, was controlled by Putin. That those accused by Putilov as Sachnin who is a political refugee from Russian Left front are in opposition to Putin in close cooperation with equally oppositional Borotba party in Ukraine is no to be taken into consideration.  As long  as, they were critical against the new government in Ukraine, they were portrayed as nothing less then Putin’s agents. This is a message well received by many mainstream media journalists, and especially those promoting Swedish-NATO membership.

 

Read more by following this link.

The Swedish Institute for International Affairs research scandal

Could it be worse? Yes, it could. On the January, 5 2017, Martin Kragh and Sebastian Åsberg at the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, one of them also at the Uppsala University, published an article in an international journal of strategic studies. The title was ”Russia’s strategy for influence through public diplomacy and active measures: the Swedish case

Read more by following this link.

Summary

Different actors in Sweden constitute a powerful tool, by means which are questionable in a democratic culture. They have been stopping or marginalizing the opposition against the Swedish-Ukrainian policy and a foreign policy moving Sweden closer and closer to NATO and its key member nations.

Some, like researchers at the Swedish Institute for International Affairs and a journalist at Expressen, acts in interplay with each other. Others, without necessarily knowing of each other’s motives or relationships, are also active. The fact that several of these actors are state funded does not necessarily mean they are acting together. The combined effect is still there. By using their overwhelming amount of resources of paid work and well-funded influential institutions they bias the foreign policy discussions. Certain issues such as the fascist violence and systematic violations of human rights in Ukraine are turned into taboo issues. Meanwhile those trying to create a democratic discussion are demonized as agents of a foreign country, quite often derogatorily portrayed as personal servants to the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The high level of obfuscation among the different roles for actors in the media, research institutions, state funded educational organisations, NGOs, business funded think-tanks and security authorities is worrisome. The way Expressen’s journalist Olsson tries to hide the fake research about the Crimean meeting is not acceptable in a democratic country. The trust for how media and research is supposed to be built on specific rules for criticism of the sources used and evaluation of their relevance is central. In this case, these certain rules are instead used to maximize the sensation by an interplay between research discourse and journalistic discourse enabling character assassinations of those standing up in the opposition to Swedish foreign policy.

This is also happening at an international level. It is carried out by old and new institutions such as the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence (NATO StratCom) – a centre also supported by Sweden – and East Stratcom which is set up by EU to disorient criticism against EU and NATO. They use the alleged Russian disinformation and misinformation and this makes the situation more dangerous. The Swedish research paper paid by the Swedish Institite for International Affairs and Uppsala University is used as a final scientific proof to legitimize the claim that Russia is secretly intervening in an undemocratic way into other countries. This shows how a Western narrative building on a fake scientific publication is contributing to a replacement of an open public debate with produced enemy images both within and between societies.

The speed with which this is done causes concern. Claims have so far been made in many countries that a systematic interference takes place, but scientific research based on case studies to put light on the central actors and their interplay in a whole country have so far been missing. The Swedish study has been downloaded more than 30 000 times and this shows the great interest for and the influence of the article. It is used to legitimize claims stating there is a serious Russian threat which is said to be helped by domestic supporters of a Russian narrative. Thus, it is used for showing the need to rearm Western countries. It undermines efforts to find conflict resolutions and is damaging to European and world peace. This is contrary to what is needed; negotiations with Donbass and, not to talk about, efforts to build solidarity across the divide at state level and replacement of aggression with peace initiatives.

The extreme lack of quality and even outright fake content in the report from the Swedish Institute for International Affairs as well as the interplay with Expressen to maximize the damage against the accused is an opportunity to challenge the way peace movements in Europe are silenced. Mistakes in the so-called research publication and the subsequent article in Expressen building upon the background material of the first are so grave that it is hard not to avoid laughing at the pretentious way the authors present their material.

Assessing the way pro-peace sentiment has been suppressed in Sweden and demonized by a combination of several active measures could inspire comparisons with what is going on in other countries. The way this suppression of peace voices has been carried out by different actors who claim to be the main protectors of free speech in Sweden and human rights everywhere is a lesson as important in Sweden as elsewhere. So is the growing conflation between business sponsored think-tanks, state security interest, top level politicians, research centers and media.

It is about time that people’s movements come together and refuse to be used as pawns in state security games. The Swedish case since 2014 show attempts to silence the pro-peace voices with the article as a climax. This can be both a serious and a humoristic example for others to wake up and act. The far-reaching claim built on fake science to produce a caricature of the peace opinion tells us more about the authors then the accused. Both interplaying researchers and journalists succumb to an outdated guilt by association method having nothing to do in neither a scientific method or serious journalism. When the British defense minister recently used the Swedish study to make a point, it shows the weakness of those that focus on creating enemy images wherever they look.

They will not succeed. The consensus-oriented Sweden has produced a scandal research article and a tabloid scoop that shows that the emperor is naked. His clothes are tailored by NGOs, think-tanks, the most prestigious research institute, a highly-regarded university, mass media, defense authorities, ministers and political party leaders. A country claiming to be interested in peace and conflict resolutions as well as humanitarian aid have shown that the opposite is the case.

We are determined to change that. We are convinced that people in common still think peace and conflict resolutions are more important than rearmament and militarization or demonizing those supporting dialogue and friendship across borders.

We take the accusations against us and the attempts to silence peace opinion in Sweden seriously. At the same time, we have hard time keeping ourselves from laughing. The clash between established research and media institutions claiming a strict adherence to criticism of sources transforms the emptiness of the sensational claims into a great humor. It is hard to ever find in Sweden or elsewhere a so-called scientific article written, within it is own field, by a top-level researcher with so many fake facts and systematic lack of consistent method as well as lack of empirical and theoretical quality.

It is no coincidence that the almost two-hour long podcast made by two academics from Umeå University, who produce the most acknowledged media criticism in Sweden, ended with a laughter. It was at that point, when the scrutiny reached the fact that Kragh and Åsberg had used both Putilov accusations against leftists for being Putin agents as well as the later accusations against himself for being a Putin agent. Journalists who made a big story of Putilov as a significant large Russian threat to the security of Sweden did everything they could to conceal that they, about a year earlier, had spread Putilov’s accusation against others for being Putin agents. Kragh and Åsberg explicitly use contradictory statements linked to Putilov. This regards Putilov’s earlier allegations about others as Putin agents and then, in the second part of the course of events, revelations of himself as a probable Putin agent. Both are regarded as two equally important justifications of Russian infiltration of Sweden. The authors did this by hiding that their source for the first accusation comes from Putilov. They refer to a rewritten article in The Local instead of referring to the original source. This is the reason why the academics from Umeå University cannot stop themselves from laughing.

The silencing of the peace opinion is in Sweden is not necessarily well organized. Clearly it is very effective. At the surface, it looks very homogenous and orchestrated. It is quite clear from several cases that the group of anonymous journalists, researchers and others who, according to Kragh, have been observing the main actors trying to challenge the Swedish foreign policy towards Ukraine and Russia are acting coherently.

Yet it can also be seen that there is no total coherence. Stefan Olsson, a prominent founder of the business think tank Frivärld (In English: Free world) and a writer in main stream media on defense issues, has opposed others within the inner circle when they questioned the Odessa massacre that was viewed as a mere extension of street violence provoked by pro-Russian forces. He instead claimed more correctly that it was an attack by a right-wing mob against the people hiding in the house of trade union. The moral guilt of the attackers committing the mass murder is clearly stated.

In this case, Olsson did not participate in the attempts of others to turn the event into the opposite, as an act that those killed in the house of trade union brought it about on themselves. Olsson has written a book about Russian influence in Sweden. According to him the fascist influence in Ukraine is grossly overrated by voices opposing the Swedish foreign policy. In parallel, Olsson’s diverts from the mainstream Ukrainian version of the Odessa events. This shows that there is no consistent homogeneous narrative that is orchestrated from behind.

The same can be said about silencing the public opinion. Ukrainian organizations with the support of the local newspaper tried to stop a piano concert by world famous Ukrainian Valentina Lisitsa, who is accused of tweeting anti-Ukrainian propaganda. They were ignored by the organisers. Attacks were also made against a speech about Swedish foreign policy in the state funded Folkets hus (In English: The People’s house) in Karlskrona. This is yet another organisation that is supposed to support the freedom of speech and provide localities for doing so. These attempts at silencing an opinion were also ignored. The speech was given in spite of that the speaker had quite opposing views from the local social democrats in charge of the localities. The local papers aggressively questioned the speaker, but there were also extensive letters sent to the editor defending the speaker. The actual article about the speech was an unbiased traditional journalism.

The main trend has been to silence the opposition either by refusing it from having a voice in a wider public discourse or by belittling of those that have been able to raise their voice. In general, all the Swedish peace movements have been under attack or systematically ignored.

But the inner core of journalists, researchers and others that have been organising the most malignant attacks against the opposition is not all the time fully supported by the very many that follow the consensus mentality so prominent in Sweden. This has been clearly demonstrated in the case of the article by Åsberg and Kragh. Here also main critics of Russia have stood up claiming that the accusations have gone to far. Yet, this defense of the opposition has been mainly limited to journalists while activists accused has not received the same support.

What especially stands out in the Swedish case is the way PEN Sweden, Ordfront and Östgruppen för demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter systematically have been ignoring human right violations in Ukraine. Ordfront and Östgruppen have even actively opposed that a documentary about these abuses and about fascist violence in Ukraine would be screened without interference from the kind of expertise they themselves represent. Ordfront and Östgruppen is a disgrace to the support of universal human rights in Sweden and to the international human rights NGO community. They have been stimulating passivity in Sweden in relation to both human rights violations in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Donbass.

That the anti-peace actors have acted so aggressively showing a lack of living up to their own standards of strict adherence to criticism, the importance of research quality as well as journalism quality or NGO advocacy is somewhat a surprise. The coming period will see if they have overreached their influence and will continue their refusal to answer the most serious criticism. An open letter to Östgruppen about their campaign against the French documentary remains unanswered. The same applies to the questioning of how Expressen is hiding fake science in the report from researchers at the Swedish Institute for International Affairs.

Maybe the extreme positions taken by some of the key NGOs, journalists and researchers have come to a point where they cannot be sustained anymore. But then, help is needed also internationally. What are under attack in Sweden are not only Swedish actors but also peace actors, environmental and the social cooperation between many different popular movements with their international connections. Only when the international social movements question the way pro-peace opinion have been silenced by NGOs, mainstream journalists and researchers can the situation substantially be changed.

 

The Swedish Institute for International Affairs research scandal

Note: This text is part of the longer text NGOs and state-funded research trying to silence peace voices in Sweden.

Could it be worse? Yes, it could. On the January, 5 2017, two researchers at the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, one of them also at the Uppsala University, published an article in an international journal of strategic studies.

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Article published in The Journal of Strategic Studies January, 5 2017:
“Russia’s strategy for influence though public diplomacy and active measures: the Swedish case”.
Authors: Martin Kragh and Sebastian Åsberg.

The article accuses several Swedish organizations and individuals to be carriers or ”interlocutors” of a Russian narrative and thus they are to be viewed as a threat to the security in Sweden. Some of the persons are anonymized while others are presented with their real names in the article. The reason for anonymizing is expressed as these individuals not being public figures. The interlocutors are defined as being peace organisations, conspiracy theorists and environmentalists as well as right wing extremists and left wing extremists. The authors also accuse mainstream media, the cultural pages of Aftonbladet, the biggest daily newspaper in Sweden. The article is widely spread internationally by newspapers such as The GuardianNew York TimesHuffington PostTagesspiegel etc. All, with the exception of the conservative Aftenposten in Norway, represent the study without criticism.

In Sweden, the paper received harsh criticism and soon the authors had to state that they were going to correct the text and take back their accusations against four Green MPs, the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society and the cultural section of Aftonbladet. Academics claimed that the paper has such great methodological, empirical and theoretical flaws that it could not be called scientific. The Swedish Institute for International Affairs claimed, in defence, that it was not an official position of the institute although it was financed by the institute since the authors work there. In the international press, the paper was and still is presented as a study published by the institute and this applies also to articles based on the interviews with the authors.

The controversy about the article continued when Martin Kragh announced in Medierna, a special public service radio program scrutinizing media, that a scoop based on the paper and its background material soon was going to be published in a big daily newspaper in Sweden. Already in the article he had claimed that a meeting in Crimea had been a key nexus between Kremlin, European fascists and Swedish pro-Russian groups. Now the full story winames was going to be presented to the public about this Crimean meeting including contributors to the Aftonbladet cultural section present mingling with separatists and fascists.

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Article published in Expressen Kultur January, 19 2017:
“The secret names in the study of Kremlin fawning”.
Author: Karin Olsson.

The main scoop announced by Kragh did not hold water. This became clear at an early stage when Karin Olsson who had the task of writing the scoop started to check the story. Olsson is the head of the cultural section and deputy publisher of Expressen, the main competitor to Aftonbladet. Olsson could be seen as a good choice for writing the scoop. In the first publication directly after the article had been published in an international scientific magazine, Olsson dehumanized those accused of spreading the Russian narrative calling them “värddjur”, animals being hosts to parasites. This dehumanizing way is typical for the most aggressive propaganda against opposition to Swedish-Ukrainian policy and rapprochement to NATO.

The claim in the original article by Kragh was that a ”Swedish environmentalist” was present at a twofold meeting on the same day on Crimea, who in the first part mingled and exchanged experience with leftists, and in the second part with European right wing extremists.

The “Swedish environmentalist” was Tord Björk; a veteran environmentalist since the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm 1972, holding positions as board member or coordinator of committees at national level of Friends of the Earth Sweden since decades and active in the social forum Prague Spring 2 Network against right wing extremism and populism (PS2). The name was stated already in the references of the paper. This makes the claim, that the authors were making the names of the accused interlocutors of a Russian narrative, anonymous if they were not public figures, questionable for at least two reasons. First, it only requires looking at the reference link closely to find who was behind the ”anonymised” name. The name was only a few seconds away already in the paper published online. Second, Tord Björk has worked for several decades with environmental public activities and must thus be regarded as a public figure.

The accusations also proved to be false by the references in the paper itself. One can question if the authors even had looked carefully enough at them. In the references, the time for the two meetings were stated as being almost two months apart. This makes the authors’ claim about mingling between European fascists and Swedish environmentalist physically impossible.

Another source was then supposed to prove that Sachnin had been at this Crimean meeting. Sachnin, who has been contributing to the cultural section of Aftonbladet did not attend the meeting on Crimea. Sachnin’s role as a “false political refugee” and “Putin’s agent” could not be proven. The idea to make a scoop showing how the cultural section of Aftonbladet directly was a Kremlin tool did not work out as this neither could be proven. The whole scoop fell apart.

But, Olsson did the best she could to hide the mistake by the authors of the allegedly scientific article. She concealed the false story in the paper by presenting a new version so that the mistake would not be exposed. The European fascist meeting was erased. So was the later claim by Kragh that contributors to the Aftonbladet cultural section had been present on Crimea. The media made somehow magically the fake claims to be erased from public memory. When asked by journalists, Kragh afterwards claimed that he was sick during the interview when he announced the upcoming story about the contributors.

Instead a new story about the Crimean meeting was presented as a journalistic sensation. The “secret” names behind ”Kremlfjäsket” (In English: Kremlin fawning) were revealed by Expressen. Key evidence of the link between Russian disinformation in Sweden and the Kremlin was now presented in a lightweight version, still with a Crimean meeting as centrepiece.

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Article published in Internationalen July, 24 2014:
“Ukraine: Dancing on the edge of the abyss”.
Author: Tord Björk.

The problem is that the facts were known since the meeting took place during the summer of 2014. An article written by Tord Björk – Ukraine: Dancing on the edge of the abyss – about the meeting on Crimea was published in Internationalen soon after the meeting took place. The report was from the first of the two separate meetings held on Crimea during the summer of 2014. The opposition from all over Ukraine could meet there, a meeting not practically possible to organise anywhere else. The article presents the presence of a wide range of groups including left wing organizations such as Borotba and left wing groups from Europe and Canada, as well as representatives of the militias of DPR and LPR. The problem with right wing extremism in the new republics was also openly addressed.

Two members of the social forum network PS2 were present at this meeting on Crimea. One of them was Tord Björk. The presence of PS2 was, besides solidarity concerns, part of an effort to develop dialogue between civil societies across the front lines in the Ukrainian conflict and this included both pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan groups. It was a sustained effort that in 2015 enabled a seminar at the World Social Forum in Tunis with participants from both Kiev and Donetsk.

According to the researchers at the Swedish Institute for International Affairs a main component of the Russian narrative is that the new government is stated as a “fascist junta”. The common international statement at the meeting on Crimea does not use this term. Instead it claims that there is a right wing neoliberal government with some right wing extremist ministers in Ukraine. This is correct at the time and no one disagrees with this claim. But instead of presenting these facts about the meeting and referring to the article by the accused ”Swedish environmentalist”, both the so called scientific article and the tabloid scoop in Expressen chose to hide this source. The fact that “separatists from Eastern Ukraine” were present at the meeting is instead presented as a fact to expose as a sensation although this, together with the problem that right-wing extremists are also part of the resistance against the Ukrainian military, is already addressed openly.

By unnecessarily making the name anonymous of accused ”interlocutors” of Russian disinformation, the research paper was helping a tabloid paper make a scoop under the headline of secret names being revealed helping the Kremlin. The media has sensationally “exposed” a fifth column in Sweden with the help of the unnecessary anonymity chosen by the authors at the Swedish Institute for International Affairs. It was done to maximize the effect of the sensation in the report they seem to have planned to help from the very start.

There were only two problems. First, the journalist Olsson needed to check the facts since a newspaper cannot publish wrong accusation against individuals. Thus, contrary to the methods used by Kragh, journalistic methods such as asking people and checking the sources showed that the research included fake facts. It was proven that the background material did not show what the authors from the Swedish Institute for International Affairs in advance claimed to be the most sensational revelations. Since this was to be exposed in the coming scoop, the sensation imploded.

Secondly, while researchers can claim that they chose to put off publishing sensational material for two and a half years, journalists cannot do so. The sensation was not the news since the criticism against the Crimean meeting as well as the report from it were openly presented already close in time to when the meeting took place. Applying journalistic rules to the tabloid ”scoop”, serious journalists would have addressed the issue already then, during the summer 2014. The only way Expressen could present the material as a scoop was to put normal journalistic news rules aside and instead use the fact that the researchers made some of the names anonymous. In this way, they could pretend that a scoop was made.

Kragh, the main author of the research article, claimed while he announced the upcoming scoop in the media that there was a group of journalists, researchers, and others – in that order – that had shared background material and followed the accused interlocutors during a long period. The accusations have in other words been known to the journalists during a long time. Only Olsson however, has stepped forward as part of the group, with which Kragh has collaborated. Their access to key institutions in Sweden is shown already by the fact that the key actors include resources from the most well-funded foreign policy institute in Sweden, the prestigious Uppsala University and a large national tabloid newspaper.

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The head of the unit for psychological defense at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency tells one of the authors that it’s “A very good report!”.

The fact that the initial paper received uncritical welcoming response from the media in Sweden as well as on Twitter from people such as the head of the unit for psychological defense at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency shows that there is substantial power behind the group of people that for many years have been collecting background material about the accused “interlocutors” of a “Russian narrative”.