Militarization of the Arctic: ‘We have to rethink how war is fought’ – Norberg
Robles: I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about NATO, in the Arctic, in particular, can you tell our listeners about the radar installations and satellite communications equipment they have set up in Norway and in Scandinavia?
Norberg: Well, I’m not a technician but I can tell you that recently it was published: a book the Satellite War by Bård Wormdal – a journalist at Norwegian radio. And it was a very important book, it was published in 2011.
I invited him to Stockholm in October when we had a day about the Arctic and the situation in the Arctic. And what he says is rather? You have to change your whole idea of how war is conducted. War is conducted via satellite and via radar installations.
And for instance, to make it clear, to understand what we should understand is: that the war on Libya, the former year, was conducted via satellite from Svalbard. This is very dangerous because, this island, the Svalbard Islands are a peace area undersigned by 14 different nations but Norway has allowed the United States of America to deploy radar installations, and in connection with the satellite they are conducting war. This is a quite new understanding of how war is conducted.
Robles: NATO and the US, they claim that their missiles, that are now surrounding Russia and their radar installations all over the world, that these are somehow a defensive shield.
Norberg: You have to differ between all these: the national missile defense, they call it. The Vardo radar close to the Russian border is one installation, and there are also those in Poland and in Turkey, and they will also be deployed in Romania it is a missiles shield. It is one thing.
The other thing are all the other radars and satellites which are informing the pilots and the war planes how to bomb and where to bomb. I have a globe here in front of me and it is almost all covered by US radar installations for different purposes. So, you have this national missile shield, which they claim is for defense, and it is an offensive weapon. It can be used as defensive but it can as well be used as an offensive weapon. And one of those radars are installed just outside the Russian border in Vardo.
I’ve been rather surprised when I’ve met Russian scientists and visitors in Stockholm, last year in October, I arranged a seminar as I mentioned about the Arctic, and the Russian representative, he didn’t agree with me that this was a dangerous situation. The only one who agreed with me was Bård Wormdal, the journalist who had written the book Satellite War.
There seems to be lack of understanding about the installations surrounding the Russian border, that is my opinion. And I think it is rather dangerous.
Robles: Why did the Russian expert disagree with you?
Norberg: Because he said that the Vardo radar is not dangerous, and I disagreed with him. And also Bård Wormdal disagreed with him.
This Vardo radar, a few kilometers outside Russian border, is rather dangerous because it is in the missile defense system, so called missile defense system. So, I think he was not aware of this. We disagreed rather strong on this matter and that’s why I’m very happy that you called me so I can tell this.
Robles: There hasn’t been much news about that. Now, as far as NATO and the Arctic in the north and Scandinavia and Canada, can you give us some details about NATO’s plans and their current activities, especially in the Arctic, as it is opening up, and resources are becoming available that were not available before?
Norberg: Then I think I will drift back to Sweden because during the last years, starting with 2007, there’ve been huge war maneuvers on the Swedish and Norwegian soil, with all NATO, and specifically the American State participating in huge maneuvers in the north.
They were called for instance: Nordic Air Meet in 2007 where a lot of countries took part, and then in 2009, it was Loyal Arrow: history’s largest air maneuver in the northern part of Sweden and Norway, and also Finland was the area. And then it continued with the Cold Response №1, a winter maneuver in the northern part of Sweden and northern Norway. And it continued in March 2012 with the Cold Response №2 with 16,500 soldiers from 15 different countries. And then after this you had last autumn a huge maneuver in the north called Nordic Air Meet №2.
So, there are ongoing military war games and some Russian military has protested, specifically against Cold Response №2.
Nobody in Sweden would have known about this unless 5 Norwegian personnel crashed into Kebnekaise, a mountain in the northern Sweden, we would never have known about these 16,500 troop military maneuver.
So, it is ongoing, not on daily basis, but certainly every year it is about two huge maneuvers in the north, and even in the south, in the Baltic. And this should be highlighted I think.
Robles: Now… Sweden as I understand is a neutral country, one point: how does Sweden officially explain that they allowed these installations? And do you think all these maneuvers are designed to intimidate Russia or to try to exercise sovereignty on the Arctic? And in that regard, what moves have they made to try to establish their own sovereignty over Arctic areas that were in dispute?
Norberg: Well, when we drift to Arctic I think there are two things going on here. When they are interviewed, those who are in charge of these maneuvers, they always answer that this is for the Arctic. They openly express this. These maneuvers are for the Arctic and the resources which will be available when the ice is melting.
Agneta Norberg is Vice Chair of the