Monday, February 22, 2021

Who Killed Olof Palme in 1986 Stockholm?

Began this non-fiction biopic on a skeptical note. Swedish journalist and former diplomat and self-proclaimed armchair detective Jan Stocklassa wrote about Stieg Larsson and his politics and journalistic research and summarized it in a book titled, 'The Man Who Played with Fire: Stieg Larsson's Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin' (2019), translated by Tara F. Chace.

Stieg Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004. Prior to finding posthumous fame as the author of the Millennium trilogy, he was an investigative journalist and was looking for clues to shield light on the unsolved February 1986 assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme who was gunned down in Stockholm while out walking with his wife. Jan Stocklassa was given access to Larsson's archives and files to the unsolved political assassination. He then tried to find more clues and establish connections to Larsson's theories to further progress the investigative efforts. (Reviews here, here and here.) 

In Stieg Larsson's story about Olof Palme's assassination  the antagonist had not been the murderer. Instead, Stieg was fighting something much more abstract, which I believed was the incompetence of the Swedish police. Stieg submitted multiple tips, and through a number of mistakes and bad decisions, they were never actually investigated. I did my best to move forward with Stieg's theory and also submitted concrete tips to the police, but more than three decades had elapsed since the assassination, and it seemed as if even a confession wasn't going to be enough to wrap up this investigation. 

Piece by pice, I mentally reviewed what I now knew about Palme's assassination, based on Stieg's research and my own investigations, I was able to fill in holes with facts from other published materials, and for the gaps where there was nothing concrete, I added the guesses I personally considered most likely. A possible pictured emerged of how the assassination took place. If, that is, Stieg's theory was right. 

I couldn't be less interested in Swedish politics. But I was keen on knowing about the Swedish far-right, and to take a look at police investigations, theories and what research has yielded. The extreme far-right movement in any country or city interests and horrifies me. It's not just the idea of white-supremacy. It's the whole movement of beliefs and notions so alien to my own that is fascinating. 

The theories read like a Stieg Larsson thriller — Iranian arms deals, American intelligence, South African apartheid supporters and disrupters, middlemen agents, etc. Everything is murky, complete with a wrong conviction that identified the wrong assassin, and a lot was hinted about the incompetence of the Swedish police and its security forces for not being tenacious enough to solve the murder because of its political consequences. Olof Palme's wife Lisbeth Palme was injured in the episode, but not severely, seemed to have identified the wrong assassin that night. A trained child psychologist, she then went on to champion children's charities and causes, led the Swedish committee for UNICEF, until her death in 2018 at 87 years old. asklfjasl kjfaslf jaslfjaslfkjasf 

This is by no means a fun book to read. It’s interesting only to readers who has an interest in these cases. The author believed that the mystery will be solved within two years of the publication of this book, perhaps by early 2021. In June 2020, he suggested that police had received new evidence and the new prosecutor will release those findings soon.

In the book's Epilogue dated 'Stockholm, 2019', Jan Stocklassa wrote,

More than a year has passed since the concert in Prague. I turned in my tip to the Palme investigation team. They have learned that the revolver might be in Jakob Thedelin's possession. The police also know that they have free access to everything in Stieg's archive and in my own research whenever they want it.

A few months ago, Jakob Thedelin was once again taken in for questioning by the police, more than three decades since the last time he was interrogated. The police continue to map his whereabouts and actions that late night of February 28, 1986. They are intensively investigating the possible involvement of South African security services and its agent Bertil Wedin. Unlike on Ölvebro and Danielsson's infamous trip to South Africa in 1996, their interest is real this time.

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