International Meeting
2003 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Agneta Norberg
Vice-Chair, Swedish Peace Council

First of all - thank you for inviting me to this conference. I am deeply moved and honored and grateful to Hiroshi Taka and The Organizing Committee for inviting me and for their heavy work in arranging this conference.

In these dark times it is important to recall the pretext for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I have came to understand that the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were victims for geopolitical ambitions from the US. Innocent people had to endure terrible pain and death for US ambitions to frighten the Soviet Union into ending the war on favourable terms for the U.S.

Since than, the whole world has lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation. We must not forget that the US government has threatened to use nuclear weapons as many as 20 times since the bombing of Hiroshima. Third World countries were and are the main targets for these threats. In January 2002, when the Cold War since many years was over, the US administration presented us a Nuclear Posture Review where as many as seven countries were named as targets for nuclear weapons attack.

I am happy to come from a country that doesn't possess nuclear weapons. But there were far reaching plans in Sweden during the fifties to develop nuclear weapons. Thanks to a strong and committed resistance mostly lead by women we didnLt join the nuclear club. Strong dedicated women worked hard against military hawks who wanted nuclear weapons and eventually we signed the nonproliferation treaty.

And I am glad to mention that in the UN many Swedish women like Alva Myrdahl, Inga Thorsson and Maj Britt Theorin have represented Sweden in the disarmament commission in a heavy work for disarmament.

But times are changing - Sweden is now a member of the European Union. At the NPT PrepCom in Geneva this year Greece spoke on behalf of Sweden in the European Union . I am glad though that Sweden is an active member in New Agenda Coalition a formation of seven countries that works for pressing the nuclear weapons states to follow the commitments in NPT. But I regret that Sweden's own voice in world affairs has become weak. One example is that our Prime Minister Goran Persson didnLt condemn US preparations for war on Iraq. One of his favourite playmate unfortunately is Tony Blair. A significant change in Goran Perssons statements could be noticed though in the aftermath of the global peace demonstration in February 15th where Sweden experienced a mass rally never seen before in protest of the planned bombing of Iraq.

When the cold war ended we in the peace movement wanted to believe that the nuclear nightmare would come to an end. The peace movement went home so to say . But we have now seen a new wave. In this new wave we must understand the true nature of imperialism. We must understand that in order to uphold global injustice and a widening gap between the have and have not immense arsenals and nuclear weapons are needed. For this purpose U.S. has military presence in 110 countries in the world. New military bases has been acquired after the bombing of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. and the EU claim the right to violate smaller countries sovereignty by either "humanitarian intervention", "war on terrorism", or fabricated evidence of arms of mass destruction. After Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq other countries are put on the waiting list it might be Iran and North Korea.

As a member of the European Union - Sweden is in a way involved in the nuclear club, even if weapons of mass destruction are not deployed on Swedish soil. UK and France two European countries have a huge nuclear arsenal which -if launched- could eradicate the whole northern hemisphere. As a Swede I am responsible for seeing to that these mass murder tools are abolished.

Sweden is one of the Nordic countries and therefore I have to to resist the plans for using bases in the Northern countries for militarisation of space as well. In order to use radar systems and communication systems the US needs cooperation. My neighbour country Denmark is involved in US space plans. I am now referring to the important Thule base in Greenland- an essential link in Bush plans for Star war. Yes you are right -Greenland is far away from Denmark but as a former colonial power Denmark still has a grip on Greenland's foreign and security policy. And the final say on the use of Thule base.

Another link in the space plans is the radar at Vardo in northern Norway. This radar has secretly been moved from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California where it had been used in the test program for the proposed U.S. missile defence. This radar has been set up in Vardo in northern Norway a few miles distance from the Russian border.

As a Swede and part of Europe I must protest against US deployment of nuclear bombs in Europe.

Those who will make profits by NATO enlarging and the planned Star Wars are Bechtel, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Siemens, Boeing, TRW, Mitsubishi, IBM just to name a few. These companies, furiously lobbying for NATO enlarging to the East. Bechtel Corporation is of special interest nowadays. It is one of the largest construction company in the world.

In 1996 in April I was standing in front of the gates at Nevada Test Site which is run by Bechtel Corporation known for its close ties to CIA. Bechtel & CIA helped each other to overthrow Mossadeq in Iran in 1953 and Indonesia's Sukarno ten years later and replace them with cruel leaders who were pro-western and pro-business. Bechtel develops and builds water systems, petroleum and chemical plants and pipelines. After the bombing of Iraq, Bechtel is now on the right place in the right time to make business in a country occupied by the U.S.

There is another important phenomenon seldom mentioned in connection with war and peace. I want to say a few words about the global spy system. On the 13th of December 2002 I was arrested and brought to custody. Why? Together with other women I was blockading the entrance to the largest electronic spying base in the world - Menwith Hill in Yorkshire. Menwith Hill is one of four primary centres for operating and processing data from SIGINT satellites which listen from space.

Menwith Hill is run by NSA - National Security Agency in the US. There are similar stations at Bad Aibling, Germany, at Denver, US and Pine Gap, Australia.

Menwith Hill was actively used both in the first and the second war on Iraq.

In order for the US to carry out its policy it needs to manufacture consent. The opinion in the United States and around the world must be shaped to accept US policy. 80% of mass media are owned by 23 multinational corporations which also controls media outlets in Europe and elsewhere in the world. 40 % in a newspaper originate from PR press releases. The biggest PR firm is Hill & Knowlton. They played an important role in shaping public opinion before the bombing of Iraq in 1991 and during the Vietnam war.

Hill & Knowlton is a perfect cover for CIA. They are all over the world. They have an office in Stockholm as well as in Beijing.

Today it is not so easy as before to shape our minds. We can get information through internet, we can inform each other and we can quickly mobilize resistance .That was what happened in Seattle in 1999 and on February 15th. From that day on we are the second superpower - or the first.

I represent the Swedish Peace Council, which is an umbrella body of about 20 Swedish Organisations. We held a national preparatory conference for The World Civil Society Forum in Geneva in 2002. The following is part of the final document and I want to end my intervention by quoting a small part of this document:
The world can no longer allow itself to be dominated by the arrogance and the despotism of one superpower but must instead ensure that the interests of all peoples and nations are safeguarded by international cooperation. To work for the democratisation of the international system is a pressing challenge. It requires the participation of all states and peoples as well as the active popular organisations.
The prohibition of use of force in the UN charter constitutes the basis for all global peace work. This prohibition must not be robbed of its contents. Instead the Security Council must assert its role and perform in conformity with the stipulations of the charter. We must act strongly to preserve international disarmament agreements at all levels on nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, small arms, land mines etc.

We demand that the commitments made in the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) be fulfilled, that nuclear weapons must be withdrawn from foreign countries territories, all nuclear weapons be taken out of alert status, that all nuclear weapons laboratories be closed, that the development of all new nuclear weapons be terminated and that an international conference be convened in accordance with the proposal of the UN Secretary General to urgently remove the nuclear danger.

Thank you for listening.