Olof Palme Suspected Of Paedophilia

Today, I was supposed to write something fun about Christmas. But I cannot. Yesterday, the most hushed-down scandal in Swedish history resurfaced again, and it fills me with such grief. It is a story that is on par with the infamous Belgian paedophile scandal, with the only difference that the cover-up has succeeded in this case.

The scandal in essence is that there is reason to believe that two Swedish Prime ministers during the 1970s, the internationally known Olof Palme, and Thorbjörn Fälldin, were customers at a network of prostitutes which involved underage girls. In other words, should the allegations be true, these men were paedophiles.

And not only them. The investigation – hushed down as it is – involves a long list of top politicians and celebrities of the time. Some 70 names have been mentioned.

The girls, around 14 at the time, have now grown up, and yesterday, they held a press conference where two of them are demanding compensation fron the Swedish state.

But it doesn’t end there. As I have mentioned, there has never been a proper investigation of these matters. Olof Palme lied to the entire Swedish people when he denied that the then head of the Swedish police, Carl Persson, had written to him to inform him that his Minister of Justice, Lennart Geijer, was frequenting prostitutes and could therefore be subject to blackmail – especially since some of the prostitutes were from the Communist bloc. Mr Persson’s note was disclosed in the daily Dagens Nyheter in 1977, but Olof Palme could see from the way the article was written that the paper did not have access to the note itself. Olof Palme very aggressively denied that the note had ever existed and called the whole thing rumours and worse, but in 1991, the note was declassified and confirmed that Mr Geijer was in fact buying sex.

Why Olof Palme put his entire career at stake to lie so blatantly – about something he likely knew was true – remains an enigma; he was murdered in 1986 and took his secrets to his grave. But the fact is that the former prostitutes yesterday repeated that he would hve beneone of their customers. Did he lie in order to protect himself?

Worse still, his Minister of Justice – Mr Geijer – was trying at the time to decriminalise paedophilia (yes, it’s true). Thank God he was stopped, but that further adds to the sleaziness of it all.

Meanwhile, the girls – several of whom have identified top politicians as customers, independently of one another – descended into personal problems and drug abuse, frustrated about the massive cover-up form the establishment. They have never budged one inch from their story; they insist to this day that what they allege is true.

The whole thing has resurfaced from time to time in Sweden, but has just as regularly vanished from the headlines again and led to no repercusisons at all. Only one person has ever been tried and found guilty, Sigvard Hammar, a marginal figure who was a TV journalist as well as a paraplegic and thus less into the circles of power, who also openly admitted abusing underage girls. But he was sentenced for procuring, not for abusing minors.

There is much more to say about this disgusting, nauseating, stomach-turning, sinister, evil, deprave, vicious mess. How Dagens Nyheter’s source, criminologist Leif G W Persson who worked for Carl Persson at the time, found not only his desk but his entire room emptied the day after Dagens Nyheter broke the story. How the cover-up in 1977 was orchestrated by people involving the then Chief Constable of Stockholm, Hans Holmér, the same police officer who later made a complete mess of the murder investigation of Olof Palme – for whatever reason. How Thorbjörn Fälldin before the Swedish Parliament in 1977 stated that the entire list of suspects must have been false simply because his own name was on it – and how the Swedish nation chose to believe him.

And how an unknown number of young girls had their lives ruined by the men in power that were supposed to provide their ultimate security.

So, will there be a proper investigation this time? At present, it doesn’t seem likely. The story has already been moved to the back pages, and it seems that the whole thing will once again be ground down into the bureaucratic machinery.

Darkness

I’d forgotten how dark it gets in Sweden this time of the year. The Swedish practice of placing lamps in every window suddenly makes sense, and offers some redemption, but agan, I was reminded of how hard it gets to you to live for such a long time as the winter season is with so little daylight.

However, illumination as an art form is developing steadily; the view of the lighting over the Stockholm Globe arena from the plane as we were approaching the airport was one of the major aesthetical experiences during the whole 36-hour journey, actually.  Indeed, there are still plenty of those cold, ghastly 1970s style plastic boxes with built-in flourescent lamps around, which pass for illuminated signs and which almost killed good old neon some 30 years ago, but hopefully they will eventually become extinct.

Stockholm is also increasingly being cleaned up. Each time you go there, you notice a little something that adds to the general improvement of the total environment. Places are being refurbished, stores are shaping up, and it is now full possible to get a very good meal on the go, compared to when I used to live there in the mid-90s when fast food basically only meant hamburgers or dead-dog style hotdogs. Trendiness has hit the foodservice sector full force, and you can now expect to get a Thai chicken in a paper box from one end of the Central station and round off with a pot of 57-variant coffee and a carrot cake (yum) the size of Virginia at the other, should you need a snack between trains.

(Speaking of food at the Central station in Stockholm by the way, I was overjoyed to notice that the horrible, run-down, neglected and insolent excuse for a restaurant that used to be on the first floor overlooking the main hall – it was commonly known as Hyllan – has finally kicked the sick bucket, fried its last old slipper, passed on, gone to see its accountant, expired, ceased to be, joined the culinary choir invisible as it rests (hopefully) in peace at the scrapheap of catering. It was an ex-restaurant already in the early 1980s, and has been no more for many years before its closure. I should really have celebrated in some way. E-mail me some champagne will you.)

However, the main darkness that hits you is of another kind. It is that of the many poor and – probably – mentally ill that you see digging around in trash cans and rubbish bins looking for something useful; easily identifiable by their ragged appearance. I won’t say that you never see that in Brussels, but maybe the contrast between them and the general cleanliness of Sweden makes them stand out more than they do here.

I’ve seen many seedy areas in Belgium. I could take you to locations which even a rat would shun. I have seen beggars and street kids in the so-called “capital of Europe”. But never do you see so many bin-diggers here as you do in Stockholm.

It’s so sad that a country that prides itself so much about its general welfare can’t be bothered to help these people.