Once upon a time there was a politician named Nils Torvalds who was impressing me by his level of being informed and also being reasonable in the usual sense – compared to the contributions of other members in a panel discussion it used to be a pleasure to listen to his. But, and to my honest regret, this is not so any more.
Because, on Ons 23.07.2014 he had an ”I dag” column in Hbl, titled ”En vecka av insikt”, which was making it very clear that he had either been taking leave of his senses or made a personal decision to keep strictly to the political line of his party (SFP), which, as we know, would like to join NATO rather today than tomorrow (and seemingly feels for this reason, or still others, obliged to follow the US American lead to ANY degree).
So, what did he write? He was drawing parallels between the recent shooting down of the Malaysian airliner above the Ukraine and the shooting down of the South Korean airliner KAL 007 above the Sea of Ochotsk in the Far East in 1983, ascribing both events to Russian ”stormaktsillusioner” and ”avtryckarglädje”, ”som i sin tur avskaffade den för eftertanke nödvändiga tiden. Skut först och fråga sedan!” And his text is then culminating in formulations that Putin were ”personligen ansvarig för morden på 298 människor”, followed by a mentioning of Josef Stalin and the formulation (about Putin) ”det är samma väg han beträder”. – This, then, not from Kerry but from Nils Torvalds.
About the incident in 1983 the SPIEGEL (which was at that time still a critical paper) was publishing a detailed report which made it rather clear that the flight of KAL 007 was in fact an attempt (by presumably the South Korean secret service) to fly through forbidden airspace over Sovjet military installations with the passengers a human shields. The Sovjet interceptor tried hard to contact the airliner, but was ignored. It was then bad luck that the interceptor was seemingly only armed with missiles (but not with a cannon), one of which he was finally putting into one of the outer engines of the airliner (possibly hoping that only the engine but not the wing would be destroyed); the wing did go, the airliner crashed into the sea. The Soviet leadership considered this incident as certainly problematic, but decided after careful consideration that one should shoot again also in the future. After which there were no further cases of Korean airliners ”accidentally” crossing forbidden Soviet airspace. – One can of course claim that this shooting-down was a Soviet overreaction, i.e. disproportionate, but on the other hand one can be pretty sure that diplomatic complaints had not resulted in anything much but further ”accidental” crossings of forbidden airspace. Anyway Nils Torvalds’ ideas about ”avtryckarglädje” seem to me not fully adequate.
As to the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner, to hold Putin personally responsible for the murder of 298 people would be a logic which would oblige Torvalds to, e.g., hold Obama personally resposible for every killed Palestinian – which a SFP politician will of course NEVER do. Instead, one could of course investigate a bit from where the missile was launched, how it had got into the hands of those who did launch it, and under what circumstances they launched it (were there any orders from higher up? – anyway I have difficulties imagining that Putin gave any such orders …). Russia has meanwhile gone public with a version which mentions several airplanes in that airspace, with a deviation of the Malaysian airliner (to the North) off its usual course, and with some details from satellite pictures which (supposedly) make it probable that the missile came from an area which was held by NOT the separatists but by the Unkrainian army. Of course I am not qualified to have much of an opinion about the trustworthiness of this material, but on the other hand we have from the Western side up to now not much more than claims and some suspicions (some of which seem reasonable), so that, altogether, more investigation (preferably by some NEUTRAL party) plus the necessary patience is called for.
Torvalds’ formulations anyway are, same as Kerry’s and, e.g., Cameron’s desparate and brutal attempts to milk the event for propaganda purposes, TOTALLY INADEQUATE. And let’s see whether there will ever be a letter to Hbl’s editors to point this out – I am still waiting.