Sweden’s popular foreign minister Anna Lindh is the third high-ranking Swedish political opponent of Zionism to have been murdered since 1948, which raises the question: Was Lindh assassinated because of her outspoken opposition to Israel’s occupation of Palestine?
Anna Lindh was expected to become Sweden’s next prime minister before she was brutally murdered on 11 September 2003, as her obituary noted.
When Sweden’s foreign minister Anna Lindh was brutally stabbed by an unknown assailant while shopping in an upscale Stockholm department store, it marked the third murder in 55 years of a high-level Swedish opponent of Zionist aggression in Palestine.
While the controlled press was quick to point out an unidentified suspect, later released, with alleged ties to “neo-Nazis,” it has virtually ignored the historical precedents that suggest that the killing of Lindh may have been an assassination aimed at silencing an influential political opponent of the Zionist extremists who control the Israeli government and wield great influence in Washington.
Anna Lindh’s Sweden “has had more of an impact on Palestinian history than closer or greater powers throughout the world,” Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian professor and negotiator, wrote after the murder.
The death of Lindh and the late UN representative in Baghdad, Sergio Vieira de Mello, represents the loss of “two voices who called with determination for salvaging the UN’s role in Iraq and for implementing its resolutions in Palestine,” Bouthaina Shaaban, a minister in the new Syrian government, wrote in The Daily Star (Lebanon).
Shaaban noted that Lindh had:
- Called upon the European Union, on April 3, 2002, to sever ties with Israel in protest against Israeli practices;
- Called on US President George W. Bush to deny Sharon unconditional support, as this would inflame the Middle East;
- Stressed that the only solution in the Middle East rested in ending the Israeli occupation (otherwise everybody would become a hostage to the conflict);
- Played an important role in shaping the EU’s decision to adopt a policy toward Palestinian President Yasser Arafat different from that of the U.S.;
- Confirmed the importance of Arafat as a partner in the peace process, rejecting Washington’s claims that he supported terrorism;
- Stood firmly against the war on Iraq;
- mysteriousAnd warned of the dangers of changing another country’s regime without the support of international law.
Regarding weapons of mass destruction, Lindh called for the creation of a Middle East free of such weapons, including Israel. Lindh strongly opposed the Anglo-American aggression and occupation of Iraq.
A GLOBAL LOSS
Sweden’s effect on the Middle East “has been consistently constructive, positive, and human with a deep-seated tradition of fairness, justice, and peaceful intervention,” Ashrawi wrote, “Unfortunately, three such Swedish champions had met with violent and untimely deaths, each a tragedy unto itself, but a national and global loss in the larger scheme of things.”
On the ill-fated day Lindh had gone with a friend to Nordiska Kompaniet (NK) a few blocks from the parliament building on Sept. 10 to buy an outfit for an upcoming televised debate on the European common currency, the Euro. Lindh’s image had appeared on posters in Sweden for the “yes” campaign she supported.
Although there was no recognizable leader for the “no” side, opinion polls before the Sept. 14 referendum showed 53 percent of Swedish women remained opposed to the Euro, with only 29 percent in favor.
When Lindh died on Thursday, Sept. 11, after more than 6 hours of surgery, Sweden’s prime minister called off campaigning for the Sunday referendum on the Euro. With the “no” vote strongly ahead of the “yes” vote there was some speculation and wishful thinking that Lindh’s murder would boost the “yes” side.
SWEDEN REJECTS EURO
The Euro referendum went ahead and with more than 80 percent of the Swedish electorate having cast ballots, the “no” side won by a large margin of 14 percent: 56 percent opposed and 42 percent in favor.
The un-elected president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, clearly at a loss for words in an interview with CNN after the vote, pooh-poohed the very idea of using a referendum to decide whether a nation should adopt the Euro. The Swedish results, Prodi said, were “worse than I expected.”
Charles Hodgson of CNN reminded Prodi that in every nation where the people had decided on the Euro in a referendum, it had been rejected.
Sweden’s rejection of the Euro, however, clearly does not bode well for the Euro in other European nations that have retained their fiscal sovereignty, primarily Great Britain and Denmark, where similar referenda will be held in the future.
MURDER IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
Lindh was shopping without bodyguards at the upscale NK department store, when she was savagely stabbed in the stomach, chest and arm, just before 4 p.m.
Hanna Sundberg, an eyewitness, told The Associated Press that she saw a man chase Lindh up an escalator from the ground floor to the first upper level into a store called Filippa K.
“She fell on the floor and the man was stabbing her in the stomach,” she said. “She laid on the floor and it looked as if a tall man, wearing a peaked cap, was hitting her,” she told AP. “But when he ran away, he threw away a knife.”
Sundberg ran to Lindh, who said: “God, he has stabbed me in the stomach!”
Another witness, Anna Lekander, who had been in the boutique, where there were “only a handful of shoppers at the time,” said she had not noticed that Lindh was there as well.
Lekander said nothing about a man chasing Lindh up the escalator.
Lekander told the BBC that she had learned from others who were present that Lindh had entered the shop together with a friend, seemingly with “no bodyguards or anything.”
Soon after leaving the shop, Lekander heard people shouting from inside, “Catch him, catch him”.
“It happened very quickly, I could see people running and I went back into the shop,” Lekander said.
“I could see a person lying on the floor, but I didn’t know it was her,” Lekander said. “There was blood everywhere.”
The attacker fled down the escalator and was able to flee without any resistance from security guards. Police were reported to be searching for a man wearing a camouflage jacket.
Lindh was initially reported to be serious condition but her injuries were said not to be “life-threatening” as she underwent six hours of surgery at the Karolinska Hospital. Doctors said she suffered extensive damage to her liver and had internal bleeding.
A company named Hufvudstaden owns NK, a 100-year-old department store founded by Josef E. Sachs. AFP asked Michael Lorenz, owner of Duty Security, which provides security for NK, about the number and location of guards at the time Lindh was murdered. Lorenz would not say how many guards were on duty or what kind of security detail his firm provided at the exits of NK.
Lorenz also refused to answer questions about how an assailant could attack a prominent Swedish politician in broad daylight in a department store with numerous closed-circuit video cameras and security guards and flee without encountering any resistance or security personnel in pursuit.
Ylva Anna Maria Lindh was a rising star in Sweden’s ruling Social Democrat Party (SDP). At age 46, Lindh was an intelligent and articulate politician with more than 20 years experience in government. An outspoken and attractive foreign minister, Lindh was expected to be Sweden’s next prime minister. She has two young sons, 8 and 13.
As Sweden’s foreign minister since 1998, Lindh’s “main objectives were to encourage dialogue between the rich and the poor worlds, and to support the independence of the Palestinian and Kurdish peoples,” according to Olle Svenning, London correspondent of the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet and personal friend of Lindh.
Lindh was an outspoken critic of Israel’s prime minister Ariel Sharon and his brutal policies affecting the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation: “Our stand is firm and clear,” the foreign minister said in an October 2001 interview :
- “Israeli settlements on the West Bank must go;
- there must be a Palestinian state;
- Israel must vacate occupied areas on the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and
- end all extra-territorial executions and attacks on Palestinians.
- This should be done immediately.”
Asked if she expected anything from a dialogue with the Israeli government led by Sharon, whose “record of war crimes” was described as “being without parallel in post-War history,” Lindh replied, “I agree. It makes no sense to have a dialogue with Sharon’s government. There will be no talks with him from our side.”
In June 2002, the youth wing of Lindh’s Social Democrat Party pressed charges against Sharon of war crimes and violation of international law. At the time Lindh said she understood there was “both bitterness and anger because the Israeli government is guilty of violating international law.”
“Sometimes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes me so angry that I kick the wastepaper bin in my office or throw things around,” Lindh said. She had described Sharon as a “maniac” and said on Swedish television that she would not buy Israeli goods and fruits sold in Swedish markets.
At a meeting of European Union member states in April 2002, Lindh had called for the EU to cut relations with Israel to protest the repressive practices of Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinians.
A frequent critic of Sharon, Lindh said in May 2002 that her goal was that “Israeli citizens will turn against the military policies of Sharon.”
“Israel’s government,” she said, “has chosen a course of action that risks placing the country outside of the rest of the world community.”
Lindh criticized U.S. President George W. Bush for ignoring the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, saying U.S. policies rewarded “Sharon’s violence.”
“I am very worried about this American debate,” Lindh said on Swedish radio. “I think this discussion equating Arafat with terrorists is both inappropriate and stupid. It is a very dangerous policy.”
“It contradicts the entire peace process… and can only lead to outright war in the Middle East,” she said.
At a gathering of European foreign ministers in Riva del Garda, Italy, days before she was killed, Lindh had blamed the U.S. and Israel for the collapse of the “Roadmap” peace plan and resignation of Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas.
Lindh said Abbas had been given “the kiss of death” when the Bush Administration and Israel had decided to deal only with him and sideline Palestinian president Yasser Arafat.
“Of course Arafat’s unwillingness to give Abu Mazen (Abbas) increased power was decisive, but Abu Mazen’s position would have been much stronger if Israel had also contributed to the peace process,” Lindh told Swedish radio at the meeting in Italy. Lindh said Israel had continued building illegal Jewish settlements, erecting a wall separating Israel and the Palestinian territories, and assassinating leaders of Hamas.
Lindh’s principled and unequivocal position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was like that of the late Swedish prime minister Olof Palme, who was assassinated in Stockholm in 1986, and Count Folke Bernadotte, the United Nation’s Mediator on Palestine, who was brutally murdered by a Zionist terror gang near Jerusalem in 1948.
The assassination of Bernadotte, “at the hands of the Israeli terrorist organization… began a lethal Swedish connection with Palestine,” Ashrawi wrote. “Palestine lost its first Swedish champion,” Ashrawi wrote, when Bernadotte “was brutally murdered, shot at point blank, by three Jewish Stern Gang members in Jerusalem.”
In 1986, then Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot as he walked home from the cinema with his wife. As Ashrawi noted, Palme had sought recognition for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and a validation for the peaceful resolution of the conflict through ending the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian and other Arab lands. Palme’s politics were based on international legality and UN resolutions, and “a deeply-felt commitment to fairness and human decency,” Ashrawi wrote.
Ulf Dahlsten, Palme’s personal secretary in 1986, said that Lindh was the most important Swedish political figure since the late prime minister. In her speeches against the war in Iraq and in support of the Palestinians, Lindh was seen as Palme’s natural heir. There have long been rumors in intelligence circles that Lindh was the daughter of Palme.
American Free Press [Bollyn] asked Ninni Jonzon, news editor of Göteborgs-Posten, if there was any discussion in the Swedish media comparing Lindh’s murder with the political assassination of Bernadotte, or the unsolved murder of Palme. “Absolutely not,” Jonzon said. Asked why, she replied, “I don’t know.”