Friday, March 14, 2014

Target Sweden?

The U.S. National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee was meeting at the White House with Vice President Cheney on 19 June 2002 with Cheney describing US cybersecurity partnerships (IEEE Spectrum, Dec. 2013, p27). The "Five Eyes" of the USA, UK, Canada, NZ,  & Australia were reported obvious partners, but as Dick Cheney began to describe a further partner that would "really surprise you" -- a security alert suddenly evacuated the room as an unidentified plane broached government-restricted airspace. The alert passed, but the conversation never continued. In "Writing the Rules of Cyberwar" author Kark Rauscher claims to have built his life's work around discovering Cheney's further suggestion. Is the cyberwar ally an Asian power? or Israel? ... or perhaps Sweden? ...

Sweden's leaders are very chummy with America, while posturing as neutral. Eager politicians in Stockholm want to be global players, and they trade Sweden's services for a few crumbs from Yankee's table. Can a mere nine-million Swedes truly secure a place at the global main table? Are Sweden's politicians naively trading national security for personal aggrandizement? Sweden gained leverage from neutrality in past world wars, and from being a (continuing) key member of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission monitoring the Korean truce. Sweden was a leading Cold War critic of US intervention in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, but also negotiated secret US military security guarantees against Soviet aggression. The strident anti-imperialism of Olof Palme brought Sweden much attention, but those years ended abruptly. The Cold War melted to a new mercantilism, and Sweden is open to trade. Can we, should we, play & fight with the big boys?

Sweden's Prime Minister & Foreign Minister -- Great Success ?!

On Sweden's end the butt-licking has continued from Social-Democrat to Moderate, from US Republican to Democrat. Försvarets radioanstalt, Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment or FRA, has been subsequently widely reported an eager tool of US signal intelligence operations (see this link or a Pirate Party critique here). Of course, this brings Swedes into the cross-hairs and adds danger ...

Exciting?  Swedish foreign correspondent Nils Horner's murder this week in central Kabul cast a chill over many in Stockholm, who believe (believed) Swedish people were above the fray. This sudden tragedy shows a danger to becoming involved in big geopolitical games.

Can the USA protect us always?