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Palme conspiracy theories refuse to die

Geoff Mortimore · 28 Feb 2011, 10:40

Published: 28 Feb 2011 10:40 GMT+01:00

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As in all high profile murder cases, conspiracy theories abound. The Palme case had more than its fair share, some plausible, some with holes large enough to drive a double decker through.

Palme certainly had enemies at home and abroad. His policies were often seen as anti-nationalistic and anti-American, making him enemies on the right, especially.

Some theorise that elements of these groups conspired with the police to organise the hit and those claims are given some extra credibility by the somewhat shoddy investigation afterwards.

It is almost impossible to have a conspiracy theory without the CIA figuring somewhere and the Palme case is no exception.

It is widely claimed that the American secret services tried to recruit a young Palme, but the latter was understood to have been upset by CIA's undercover role in the International Students Conference (ISC), an organisation about which Palme cared deeply.

Additionally, conservatives were in power on both sides of the Atlantic at the time, Thatcher in the UK and Reagan in the US. As a result, Sweden's more socialist approach, backed by a determined Palme, could have been perceived as a threat serious enough the CIA could have been "encouraged" to organize and cover up a assassination, it is alleged.

Probably the most popular of all the theories is that the apartheid regime in South Africa was somehow behind the killing.

A week before the murder, Palme made an impassioned speech to the Swedish People’s Parliament Against Apartheid rally in Stockholm. In September 1996, Colonel Eugene de Kock, a former South African police officer, alleged that Palme had been shot and killed ten years earlier because he “strongly opposed the apartheid regime and Sweden made substantial contributions to the ANC”.

De Kock claimed the assassin was Craig Williamson, a former police colleague and a South African spy but no proof for the allegations was ever uncovered.

Domestically, many have theorised that dark forces on the right were involved with the killing. Palme perceived as an enemy, the theory goes, due in part to his taxation policies. Although it is not generally thought that these groups were directly behind a hit, it has been suggested that they helped cover things up or made a thorough investigation difficult.

Another theory was that Palme was killed by the Kurdistan group PKK. At the time, the rising tide of immigrants from the Turkey and the Middle East was seen by many as threat to Swedish society, so a terrorist faction would also represent a convenient scapegoat.

The group however never claimed any responsibility and no evidence has been uncovered to corroborate the claims.

The Stockholm police commissioner at the time, Hans Holmer, was a vocal supporter of this theory, though it was to cost him his job after it was proved false.

However, the line of enquiry was brought up once more in 2001 when a team of Swedish police officers went to interview the Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Acalan in a Turkish prison about the latter's allegations that a dissident Kurdish group, led by his ex-wife, murdered Palme.

Once again though the investigation proved fruitless.

Other organisations that have figured prominently in Palme conspiracies include international arms dealers, the Swedish security service Säpo, and Israel's Mossad.

Questions also remain over how forensic detectives failed to find the bullets, which were to be later uncovered very close to the body "by chance".

Throw in suggestions about Palme's wife Lisbet's apparent change of coat and her longstanding lack of support for the police, and one begins to reailse it might be possible to implicate almost anyone.

For all of the people propagating elaborate conspiracy theories about Palme's murder, the least palatable is that Christer Pettersson, a petty criminal and drug addict identified by Palme's widow, simply did it on his own.

Story continues below…

Although he was convicted of the crime in July 1989, he was later released on appeal due to lack of evidence.

Frequently appearing on TV shows after his release until his death in 2004, Pettersson made so many contrary remarks that it was never possible to work out the validity of his claims one way or the other.

According to a documentary aired on SVT in 2006, associates of Pettersson claimed that he had confessed to them his role in Palme's murder, but claimed it was an accident and that he was looking to kill a drug dealer, dressed in similar clothing.

The show also claimed that there was a huge police presence in the vicinity but it was called off shortly before the killing. Following these revelations, the Swedish police undertook a review of the case, but once again, nothing ever came of it.

To add one final twist, shortly before he was admitted to hospital, it is claimed that Pettersson wanted to see Palme's son Mårten. Despite hopes that this could eventually amount to a confession, the meeting unfortunately never happened and Pettersson took his secret to the grave.

Geoff Mortimore (mortimore.geoff@gmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

22:59 February 28, 2011 by wenddiver
Not very likely the US would have used two US made revolvers. That said his being gone probably prevented Sweden from being sucked behind the Iron Curtain. His support of the Eastern Dictaorships (Communism) probably put him on a lot of peoples Must do, Should do or Will do at first opportunity list.
00:00 March 1, 2011 by planethero
I disagree with wenddiver.

He was against totalitarianism, i.e also the iron curtain.

He wasnt against the USA outright, he was against inidivdual policies such as their bombing of civilian population of north vietnam, resulting in 1/2 million (est) civilians deaths (murders?).
00:25 March 1, 2011 by planet.sweden
The idea that either the CIA, South Africa, or the right were responsible for Olof Palme's death was put about by Social Democrats seeking to make their version of Sweden appear more significant than it really was.

In fact Sweden and Palme were far to small, neutral and insignificant to bother the CIA, while by 1986 South Africa had already started to repeal apartheid laws and premier Botha was openly considering the release of Mandela. And Killing Palme would not have changed either Sweden's policies or South Africas.

As for the idea of a conspiracy of tax angry Swedish businessmen, pleeease.

So who killed him? Don't know. But here's a couple of other examples. Anna Lindh was killed by a passing Serb on a whim, and JFK was assassinated by a loan nut after he discovered the president's motocade would be passing right underneath his office window the very next week. (Those who disagree please refer to the latest research documented on Discovery - JFK: Inside the Target Car - 2008).

So it may well be that like Lindh, Palme was killed on the spur of a moment by a chancer with a gun who didn't know he was going to kill Palme until he spotted him unguarded and vunerable at 11.18 pm on a quiet Sunday night in a near empty street. It happens and Christer Pettersson certainly fits the bill.
08:53 March 1, 2011 by ton
Also worth considering is a role of the drugs maffia triggered by the restrictive Swedish drug policy in the eighties. In line with the epidemiological ideas of the police physician Nils Bejerot the use of illegal substances was made a criminal offence by the social democratic government (Olof Palme, Gertrud Sigurdsen, Anna Lindh).
23:55 March 2, 2011 by Ivan Juric
President Josipovic of Croatia should disclose more of what he knows or information that he has access to on the former Yugoslav secret service (UDBA). This will reveal more details on the assasinations these scum bags carried out against the Croatian diaspora and hopefully this will reveal if they were involoved with the death of Olaf Palme.
06:15 March 5, 2011 by Smiling Canuk
Something stinks. All these years later and its still never been solved? Little wonder there are so many conspiracy theories. Some people in high places know the truth and are keeping it from the rest of us.
23:35 March 5, 2011 by maxbrando
Sweden is filled with idiots. Unable to find the killer of Palme, unable to find the Russian sub (it took an old fisherman), and so many other incompetencies, I am surprised you have not been overtaken by the Russians, taliban or al qaida. Your investigative services are a mess, and your army is likewise nothing but a bunch of traffic cops. Their reputation as warfighters in Iraq and Afghan..... is terrible.
20:58 March 6, 2011 by Avidror
# maxbrando

Wow, and where do you come from? Let us know how wonderful your country is, please.
15:10 March 23, 2011 by dolf van soest
About two weeks ago I send in a comment. Was it refused/censored ??
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