Swedes seek answers after alleged Stockholm submarine sighting

The Swedish corvette HMS Visby is seen in the search for suspected "foreign underwater activity" at Mysingen Bay, Stockholm, in this October 21, 2014 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 27 October 2018

Swedes seek answers after alleged Stockholm submarine sighting

  • The military does not share Dagens Nyheter’s view that this was a foreign submarine,” Tengroth later told the newspaper
  • In October 2014, Sweden launched a massive hunt for a foreign submarine, suspected to be Russian, in the Stockholm archipelago over an eight-day period

STOCKHOLM: Swedish politicians were seeking answers Friday after reports emerged of a submarine sighting in Stockholm waters in June, which the military did not tell parliament’s defense committee about.
Newspaper of reference Dagens Nyheter reported late Thursday that three teenage instructors and children at a sailing camp in the suburb of Lidingo had spotted the mystery vessel on June 28.
For about 20 minutes, they observed what they believed to be a dark grey or black submarine near the surface and watched it sail away from where they were sailing dinghies.
The teens took photographs and a short video of the object, which Dagens Nyheter published on its website.
The Swedish military, which learned of the incident several days later by word of mouth, sent two officers on July 4 to question the teens, aged 17 and 18.
“We are confident about the measures we took when we received this information. But I can’t go into which measures were taken nor which conclusions were drawn,” Armed Forces spokesman Jesper Tengroth told AFP.
“The military does not share Dagens Nyheter’s view that this was a foreign submarine,” Tengroth later told the newspaper.
But he refused to say whether the military had identified the object, and if so, what it was.
Dagens Nyheter said neither the Swedish military nor civilian submarines were active in the area at the time of the sighting.
Swedish politicians expressed surprise that they had not been told of the possible incursion.
“We haven’t been informed of this previously. They’ve been sitting on this (information) for several months, they should have sorted out what this is all about,” Liberal lawmaker Allan Widman, a member of parliament’s defense committee, told Dagens Nyheter.
“We are of course going to make sure we get this information as soon as possible. Observations like this should be taken seriously,” conservative Moderates MP Beatrice Ask told news agency TT.
As a result, Tengroth said the military would inform lawmakers “relatively soon.”
Alleged submarine sightings are not uncommon in Sweden.

In October 2014, Sweden launched a massive hunt for a foreign submarine, suspected to be Russian, in the Stockholm archipelago over an eight-day period.
The military subsequently confirmed “a mini submarine” had violated its territorial waters, but was never able to establish the vessel’s nationality.
After years of massive military cutbacks in the post Cold War period, Sweden has in recent years hiked defense spending, much of it focused on upgrading capacity to detect and intercept submarines.
A non-NATO country, Sweden has also stepped up its military capabilities and exercises with the alliance, including the current Trident Juncture 18 exercises, amid signs of more assertive Russian behavior in the Baltic region.
That has included Russian planes occasionally skirting or violating the national air space of neighboring countries.


US officials block police ‘extreme tactics’ as protests enter 12th day

Updated 44 min 9 sec ago

US officials block police ‘extreme tactics’ as protests enter 12th day

  • A federal judge in Denver ordered city police to stop using tear gas, plastic bullets and other ‘less-than-lethal’ devices
  • Two police officers in Buffalo, New York, were suspended without pay on Thursday

WASHINGTON: Officials across the United States are moving to rein in police following accusations of excessive force being used against demonstrators, with protests over the killing of a black man in custody set to enter their 12th day on Saturday.
George Floyd, 46, died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee to the neck for nearly nine minutes.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has ordered that all flags at state facilities be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday in honor of Floyd, who was originally from the state’s Fayetteville city.
On Friday, marches and gatherings took place in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Miami, New York and Denver, among other places, while protesters massed again, in the rain, in front of the White House. The night-time protests were largely peaceful but tension remains high even as authorities in several places take steps to reform police procedures.
A federal judge in Denver ordered city police to stop using tear gas, plastic bullets and other “less-than-lethal” devices such as flash grenades, with his ruling citing examples of protesters and journalists being injured by police.
“These are peaceful demonstrators, journalists, and medics who have been targeted with extreme tactics meant to suppress riots, not to suppress demonstrations,” US District Judge R. Brooke Jackson wrote in the ruling.
In Minneapolis, Democratic city leaders voted to end the use of knee restraints and choke-holds, where pressure is applied to the neck, while California Governor Gavin Newsom said he would end state police training of carotid restraints similar to the technique used on Floyd.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state should lead the way in passing “Say Their Name” reforms, including making police disciplinary records publicly available as well as banning choke-holds.
“Mr Floyd’s murder was the breaking point,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement. “People are saying enough is enough, we must change.”
Black Lives Matter activists have called for cities to defund police departments. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat who in April proposed increasing law enforcement funding, this week reversed course and said he would seek some $150 million in cuts to the Los Angeles Police Department.

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In another sign of how attitudes have changed, National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league had made mistakes in not listening to players, in a video denouncing racism in the United States.
The NFL has been locked in a debate with players over kneeling protests during the playing of the national anthem.
Two police officers in Buffalo, New York, were suspended without pay on Thursday and placed under investigation after a video showed them shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground.
But the decision was met with pushback from the officers’ colleagues, with all 57 members of the police tactical unit quitting in protest at their treatment.
The demonstrations have erupted as the public and businesses struggle to recover from sweeping lockdowns imposed to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Disease experts have said the protests could spark new outbreaks.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has sparred with US President Donald Trump over his sometimes heavy-handed response to the rallies and marches in the nation’s capital, had the slogan “Black Lives Matter” painted in massive yellow letters on a street leading to the White House.
After nightfall, Bowser had light projections spelling out the words beamed onto nearby buildings, which she said on Twitter was a “night light” aimed at Trump.