Wed. Apr 24th, 2019

Olof Palme: Everything that Stieg Larsson knew about the assassination of the Swedish Prime Minister | Culture

Olof Palme: Everything that Stieg Larsson knew about the assassination of the Swedish Prime Minister | Culture


I'm Lisbeth Palme, do not you see? And the one who is there is my husband, Olof Palme, the prime minister, "shouted the Swedish leader's wife to the police a few centimeters from her husband's body four minutes after a stranger shot her a bullet of great caliber Caliber on a street in Stockholm on February 28, 1986. This desperate call was the beginning of a series of errors and conspiracies that left the prestige of Sweden on the floor and the case unresolved. Obsessed with the assassination and its connection with the Swedish far right, the writer and journalist Stieg Larsson devoted part of his energies to drawing a reasonable theory. The complexity of the matter, obscure interests and his death left the work unfinished. Now, 33 years later, the Swedish journalist Jan Stocklassa takes the witness in Stieg Larsson. The legacy. Hidden keys to the murder of Olof Palme (Roca), a hybrid between the essay, the investigative report and the espionage that transits the path opened by the author of Millennium and approaches the definitive solution. With the new data provided in the investigations of Larsson and Stocklassa, the Swedish and South African information services are working together to clarify the crime.

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There was panic in those early hours and then people inside the police who did not want the culprit to be discovered

Jack Stocklassa

"The police were tremendously incompetent," said Stocklassa by telephone to EL PAÍS from Stockholm to summarize facts such as officers who continued on vacation, that the investigation be ordered to someone "loyal but who had never worked in a homicide" or who hours later dozens of police stations did not know that the Swedish prime minister had been murdered. "There was panic in those first hours and then people within the police who did not want the culprit to be discovered and who tried to stop the investigation," he adds before pointing out Hans Holmér, the chief inspector, who says: "He played one of the darkest papers in the history of Sweden. There is a unanimous feeling that it spoiled everything. " Holmér, turned into a successful writer, fed the thesis that blamed a Kurdish group and refused for years to investigate the trail of the far right and its connection with the South African regime, wielded by Larsson himself, a true expert in the rise of neo-Nazi groups in his country.

The place where Palme was murdered hours after the assassination.
The place where Palme was murdered hours after the assassination. TT NEWS AGENCY / Cordon Press

"Now we know that a few weeks after the crime Larsson was very close to the truth. He was very ambitious as a researcher, incredible. With the time and money he would have had after the success of his trilogy, he would have discovered it. His priority was to uncover the extreme right groups in Sweden and that led him to try to solve the murder of Palme, "says this reporter who has used the documents left by Larsson to continue with the investigation of the largest open murder case in the world (by a change of law has not prescribed). In his sleepless nights, in his obsessive monologues, in the letters he wrote to other European colleagues or while smoking one of the 60 cigars he consumed daily, Larsson tried to make sense of everything. He died in 2004 without getting to see it resolved, with the case languishing after 10,225 interrogations, a false guilty and hundreds of thousands of summary documents that a person instructed in law would take nine years to read.

According to this thesis, Palme was killed in an operation prepared between the Swedish far right and the South African secret services -They hated the Swedish politician for his activism against the regime of apartheid and its denunciation of the arms traffic destined to that country in spite of the blockade - with spies of the level of the legendary Craig Williamson implied. The former UN official in Congo, strong man of the South African army in the shadows, Bertil Wedin - whom Stocklassa interrogates in Cyprus in a covert operation that is one of the best moments of the book - would be the link. The infrastructure was offered by Swedish Nazi groups led by the activist Alf Enerström, the architect of the campaigns against the prime minister, and the trigger was squeezed by some poor man from whom he could later be undone. Larsson is systematically ignored by the police when he publishes his articles in weeklies or when he sends them this information, which the writer kept in lost boxes until now. The investigators also ignored the 10 warnings they received in the months before the murder and that warned of a compile against Palme.

Olof Palme, with his wife Lisbet, in 1985.
Olof Palme, with his wife Lisbet, in 1985. DN / Cordon Press

Considered by many the most important politician in the history of Sweden, Palme changed the image and priorities of his country in the world, but his enemies unleashed at the time an unprecedented hate campaign that partly explains his death and the fact that it has not yet been resolved. "The campaign began before he became prime minister. It lasted almost 20 years and as it was gradual it was tolerated. The South Africans would never have been able to prepare this in Sweden if there had not been people who believed that Palme worked for the KGB and who was going to sell the country to the Soviets, which is totally ridiculous, "explains Stocklassa.

As a good conspiracy, the case also has its scapegoat. His name is Christer Petterson, a crack addict and alcoholic with a violent past whom Lisbet Palme pointed out at a reconnaissance round helped by the police. "It had been two years and 10 months. It was too much time to remember, especially considering that during the first days Lisbet, who was the only witness, was not able to describe anyone, "clarifies the author of Stieg Larsson. The legacy (published on March 14) who believes that now you can be close to the truth. "Lisbet has died and it can be said clearly that her testimony was false." Petterson was convicted, but in the absence of a murder weapon, evidence and motivation, he was acquitted at second instance.

We now know that a few weeks after the crime, Larsson was very close to the truth. With the time and money that he would have had after the success of his trilogy, he would have discovered it

Jack Stocklassa

Ten years after Palme's death the Swedish police were in a dead end. Your boss, Hans Olvebro, appeared to acknowledge that they had failed and say that the investigation should not continue. The number of agents had been reduced to 14. Larsson's theses were ignored and the police and society preferred to look the other way, not as now, with the information services of Sweden and South Africa collaborating with the new tracks offered. "It was a very naive country. Now, in a way, it still is, but the case is being discussed abroad and there is increasing pressure, "reflects Stocklassa, who acknowledges that he has felt threatened. "I'll be more careful next time. I think there is something going on but I do not really know what it is, "he says. One more proof, perhaps, of how close Larsson was to solving the crime of the century.

A history of spies and antifascists

Severin, Larsson's grandfather, instilled in him as a child a passion for the anti-fascist struggle that led the author of Millenium to devote to it in body and soul - in the TT agency, in the weekly Expo and in foreign media - until becoming the great Swedish expert in the rise of neo-Nazi movements.

"Reality in Sweden and in Europe has proved him right", says Stocklassa, who tries to go further than Larsson. "When I had the boxes with the documents in my hand I knew it was a moment that happens once in your life," he confesses. In Stieg Larsson. The legacy, the journalist interviews some of the suspects and uses a young Czech woman, code name Lida, for some of her investigations. "It's not fiction. It's not from the CIA, I do not invent it. She is real and the interviews too. I have the recordings. Lida, in fact, will travel with me to Spain to promote the book ", defends the author.

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