Kidnappningsförsöket på Peter Wallenberg och den sovjetiska kartläggningen
P3 Dokumentär den 12 oktober handlar om den sovjetiska kartläggningen av Sverige där lyssnaren kastas in i det misslyckade kidnappningsförsöket på finansmannen Peter Wallenberg. Året är 1993. På Peter Wallenbergs gräsmatta utanför gården på Värmdö griper polisen fyra ukrainska och ryska män. Polisen beslagtar även avancerad fd sovjetisk militär dykarutrustning, falska pass, handeldvapen och granater. I förhör uppger männen att de planerat att gömma sig i ett hemligt underjordiskt bergrum under Slussen som bara kunde nås från havet, under kajen på Stadsgården. Den dramatiska händelsen väcker frågor hos den svenska försvarsmakten – hur kunde männen känna till hemliga militära anläggningar mitt i Stockholm? Continue reading →
My name is Carl-Magnus Helgegren (call me Carl if you want). I’m 34 years old and I have two sons, Frank & Leo. I work as a freelance journalist, software developer (@ Tromb) and media specialist. These past weeks of my life have been very strange and different. I caused headlines all over the world because I took my children to a former war zone when they wanted to play Call of Duty.
BBC Radio 4 16th Aug 2014
A bit about me
I live 150 km south of the arctic circle in Luleå, Swedish Lapland. Originally I’m from Gothenburg, but I grew up in Paris, Stockholm, Zürich and New Mexico. I think that life on this planet is very short. I practice ironman triathlon and do documentaries for a living (+ coding now! @ Tromb). I like a beer or two, black coffee, NATURE, challenges, emotions, spinach soup, carbon wheels. Love my children and nature again. I believe life is very precious.
Bruno, my rhodesian ridgeback, Arjeplog 2013 (c)
Carl-Magnus Helgegren looking tired and crazy, July 2013 by Laisan (c)
Done for a living: Radioproducer/reporter, university teacher @ LTU, vinyl reggae-dj, sailor (sailed a 42-foot Bruce Farr design from Australia – Turkey in 2001). Then I’ve also driven cabs, poured beers as a bartender at the Bishop’s Arms in Luleå, served food at chique restaurants… you know, living off my dream and raising children. Making it work, sometimes having it rough. But I was happy very often and this taught me a lot about what is actually worth something in life.
Carl-Magnus Helgegren, chef on sailing boat, spring 2002, Salalah Oman (c)
The story all began round the kitchen table in November 2013. My boys Frank (11) and Leo (10) told me about the latest Call of Duty. I asked if they had ever seen war and they said no. I started thinking. I thought I knew what war was. That was before I went and worked on the West Bank in 2009.
Nai’lin – 2009 – demonstration against wall (c)
What I found in 2009 was not war, it was only occupation and the scenes I was witnessing were regular demonstrations against the illegal parts of the wall being built to contain the West Bank.
Nai’lin – 2009 – demonstration – masked youth pelting rock with sling 2 (c)
I had to run a couple of times and from being hit with teargas grenades that came at me at very high speed. The shells are the size of the small coke cans they used to have on airplanes back in the day.
Nai’lin – 2009 – demonstration – masked youth pelting rock with sling 2 (c)
I saw sites were a 10 year old child had been shot and blead to death. And the most frightening was that… these things happened every once in a while.
But I also learned that these areas also had a very normal every-day life. Even though there is a conflict people still want to hang out, dance and have a goo time. My friend Terje and I dj:ed at different clubs, like Hataklit and Cassetta.
Carl-Magnus Helgegren – promotional flyers bombed over Jerusalem, 2009
I came home and tried to explain what I had witnessed to people I knew. But no one seemed to be able to grasp it. No one understood what I had seen. Terje and I started hanging out at check-points in the middle of the night.
Terje Carlsson at Tarqumia (c)
It’s 4 o’ckock in the morning and these Palestinian men were lining up to get across early in the security check point separating them from their job in Israel.
Tarqumia check point, september 2013, Carl-Magnus Helgegren (c)
This is also an effect of war. Having to wait in line for hours twice per day is something that we cannot imagine. Just to get to work. If you object, you don’t pass. You don’t pass, you don’t get to work. You don’t get to work, you get fired. You get fired you can’t provide for your family… and this perpetuates. And you never see this the games and this is only one of many problems in your life that just makes everything difficult.
Sinksundet, Swedish Lapland, december 2013 (c)
Back to the main story
So back to the dinner table in November 2013, I made a deal with Frank and Leo. I told them that if they went with me to a place where there had been war and make interviews with people that were affected, then, they would be able to play whatever game they wanted upon their return. The boys didn’t believe me. This was just another one of my crazy ideas they thought.
Time passed. Winter slowly turned to spring and in April 2014 I suggested to the mother of my children that we should take them and show them the Middle East so I could conclude this thing about the games. Also I thought it would be good for them to see how the jews and christians celebrated pesach and easter.
Frank Helgegren & Leo Helgegren outside Israel Museum. April 2014 (c)
And so, we went. And we saw what we set out to see. First day we saw the Old City of Jerusalem. The children were not totally convinced that we were there just because of the games. They asked me once by an street food stand while we were eating. ”Are we really here just because of the games?” and I said ”Yes”.
Shuafat 13 Arpil 2014, Frank Helgegren peering into school, Leo to the left, behind Frank: Ronny Pearlman from Machsom Watch. In background the wall that surrounds the west bank where inhabitants burn their trash – behind the boys: an alley with illegal drug market.
The next day we went to Shuafat Refugee Camp between Jerusalem and Ramallah. We went with my friend Ronny Pearlman who works for Machsom Watch. This is how Ronny replied to the boys when they asked her in what way Shuafat related to war:
“War? This is war, this is occuaption, a type of war. Over here the inhabitants are buring their rubbish against the wall.The municipaluty is in charge of this because the inhabitants of Shuafat pay taxes like everyone else.”
Ronny Pearlman in her Apartment in Jerusalem, 2013
Ronny is Jewish and with Machsom Watch, a network of women, she stands for hours at the check points to to monitor the soldiers and see that they respect human rights described in rules of occupation. If the soldiers do not respect the rules, Ronny and her network file reports to the UN. The whole idea is for her to communicate with the soldiers to try to make the security process as smooth as possible for the passing Palestinians. Also, she thinks that there is one very important aspect of her work as well: she wants to show the Palestinian passing by that there are Israeli who see their struggle and who care.
Majed Siag talking to Leo Helgegren, Elisa Quezada and Ronny Pearlman, Shuafat medical clinic, 13 April 2014
We went with the boys to a medical clinic. I asked the the manager, Majed Siag, to explain to my kids what it was like for children their own age in Shuafat. He told them that in average they were stitching up about 1 child/day for having been beaten in the head by the butt of rifle. He told them about the teargas that children were getting exposed to, he also told them that he was currently treating three boys their own age who were in wheel chairs. They had been shot through the spine with rubber bullets. My children went quiet. They looked at me like they were asking ”Is this real dad?”. The following days we did regular things, saw the sights, hung out in Jerusalem, at playgrounds, went to the zoo etc. The children’s mother and I were very conscious to show our children that every-day life existed and that there were family venues where you could see Israelis and Palestinians enjoying the same things.
Frank and Leo Helgegren with IDF soldiers, by Damascus Gate, Jerusalem, April 2014 (c)
Frank and Leo were not used to seeing soldier with automatic rifles in the streets. They recognized the weapons from the games. We talked a lot with the boys. We talked about history, about politics and how democracy works. That policy is a product of majority, but that does not necessarily reflect the opinion or belief of an entire population. This trip was about the games, the normalization of weapons and negative rippling effects of war. But, of course, the discussion about the state of things in the Middle East could not be left out of the context.
Frank & Leo Helgegren, April 2014, Betlehem (c)
Next we went to Betlehem. Frank and Leo saw more check points. They saw ordinary life in the West Bank, something other than the refugee camp.
Frank & Leo Helgegren by Banksy mural, Betlehem, April 2014
After Betlehem we went north, to the Golan Heights, in in Northern Israel / Occupied Syria, depending on who you ask. If you ask the UN, it’s occupied Syria (Syrian territory occupied by Israel). The area has an Israeli administration.
Golan Heights – Border to Syria in the village of Majdal Shams, 2013
We met up with Alaa Alshaer, a friend of mine who lives in Majdal Shams. He is a gardener and a successful musician. (Majdal Shams has a very thriving music scene for a cool mix of arabisc scales, rock, reggae, ska and psychedelica). Alaa told my children of that he knew what weapon was being fired in Syria just by hearing the sound. He could also easily tell approximately from how far away it was fired. ”This is not normal” he said. He explained that he had been born during the occupation and that he had never met large parts of his family. The border to Syria is closed and monitored by UNDOF peace keeping forces (UN). Alaa dreams of studying music in Genoa, Italy. For him, since he has no passport, all administration is difficult. This is one side effect of war that people never think of. No bullets, but your rights are limited. My children had never thought of this situation.
Frank & Leo Helgegren by Merkava tank, Ramat Hagolan, Golan Heights, April 2014
Traveling around we also had the opportunity to see tanks up close. This is of the Merkava-tanks that we saw i the Golan, 60 km from Damascus, Syria.
Tank X-ing in Golan Heights, Carl-Magnus Helgegren
In the arctic part of Sweden we don’t have these signs.
Leo Helgegren, Aptil 2014, Tel Aviv, Israel
After the Golan Heights we traveled south to Tel Aviv. We did beach life and saw a new part of Israel. Not as many soldiers in the streets as in Jerusalem. I have never felt unsafe in neither Jerusalem nor Tel Aviv. I had visited this beach before, but last time there were Israeli attack helicopters flying along the beach. Gaza is only approx 100 km south.
Filter juli 2014 – omslag – Frank & Leo Helgegren
I returned to Sweden and mailed some pictures and storyline to Sweden’s most well renowned reading magazine: Filter. Shortly after I wrote a debate article on Swedish National Television’s debate-site: SVT Opinion.
The Local – Carl-Magnus Helgegren
Then the first English language newspaper called me: The Local. From here, the story went viral, hitting the front page of Reddit. It got 2800 upvotes and 897 comments.
Carl-Magnus Helgegren front page of Reddit
All of a sudden my friends started posting on Facebook that I was on Reddit and I started to get pictures sent to me from all over the world with articles about me. The phone was ringing all day long and I was sprending HD-pic-files to journalists all over the world.
Frank & Leo Helgegren – asian gaming magazine
And also people started hating me on the web:
But also I got som really cool messages like this one:
One Swedish guy Björn made fun of my children on twitter. He called me an attention seeking opportunist, exploiting my children for fame. Frank and Leo didn’t like is statements, so they very simply sent him a reply on his thoughts (which was embedded on the Huffington Post site and he got some feedback from the world on this, haha! don’t mess with me and my boys…)
Things got really big, CNN called me for an interview, asking if I was still in Jerusalem. I was in newspapers all over the world:
My twitter app went nuts. It exploded. Every time I opened the app there were more than 20 new notifications (limited counter on preview!). It was madness.
To sum things up it was a media roller-coaster that I had never experienced. When we returned I asked Frank and Leo if they wanted to play Call of Duty. They said ”no” because it didn’t feel right after seeing what they saw. Also Frank stated that he didn’t want to fund production of arms.
As writing this, today is the 23rd of September. A month has passed. I still get calls and messages from people around the world. Some people keep questioning my sanity, but most cheer me on. It has been a wonderful trip. It carries on. Many people have supported me and I have tried to answer to all who have mailed and tweeted to me. Thank you so much.
Frank & Leo Helgegren, April 2013, Betlehem (c)
The greatest thing is that I can tell my children:
”Don’t ever say you can’t change the world, ’cause we already did it.”
I will keep updating this post as more media comes in. Don’t hesitate to comment, tweet me or to send me an e-mail.
Thanks so much for reading.
23rd Spetember 2014
In 2009 I visited the West Bank for the first time. I remember how I stepped through the passport control at Ben Gurion Airport carrying a crate of beer. I had expected a working vacation with Terje Carlsson who had lived in Ramallah for six years while recording his documentaries (Welcome to Hebron & Israel vs Israel). We had a few dj gigs booked at clubs and I had a few interviews lined up.The same morning I landed Terje and I went off to a demonstration on the West Bank in a village called Nai’lin.
I started to scratch at the surface of one of the world’s most difficult conflicts.
When I came home I wasn’t the same person as when I left. I had many unanswered questions. Even though I had been pretty much all over the world I had never felt and urge to return to the same place twice. This changed.
Terje and I did more trips. We hung out at check points in the middle of the nights, we went up to the Syrian border and we drove through large parts of Israel that were accessible to us. These trips gave me new perspectives on the situation in the Middle East.
Then one day my sons asked me if we could buy the latest Call of Duty game. I made a deal with them: if they would come with me to a place were there had been war and make interviews with people who have been affected by war, they could choose to play any game they wanted upon returning.
So in April 2014, we went to the Middle East and visited Jerusalem, Shafat refugee camp, saw the mine fields in the Golan Heights and looked into Syria from the border.
I wrote an article in Swedish in a magazine called Filter.
Then a web paper called The Local picked up the story and then it was all over the planet. The Times, Wellington Post, The Gueardian, papers in the US, I’ve been live on BBC five times, the list goes on…
Want to feedback me? Drop me a tweet @cmhelg or send me an e-mail: email@example.com
Photo of Sandro Puig Guerola and Bruno the dog(c) Carl-Magnus Helgegren 2014
I live 100 km from the arctic circle. I love cycling. have some extra space and when other cyclists come by I let them stay for free in my yard and have a warm shower, wash some clothes, eat some grilled chicken.
Yesterday I got an e-mail from a Spanish guy called Sandro who had gotten rained on all night. So I just invited him in to dry his tent and have a warm meal. It hardly costs anything and for someone else it means the world. Share. Provide value up front. Laugh, eat, have a sauna together. Suddenly you just made the world better. Just like that.
This is Mounir, a Moroccan 29-year old male living illegally in Copenhagen. He is one of the 3,2 million illegal immigrants living in the EU (Eurostat). I met him on Sunday morning. It was 9 o’clock and he snapped his third beer.
Mounir had been on the road since 2010 when his father was killed in an Italian prison and he was forced to leave his home to avoid getting killed as well by the Camorra. He is happy that the nights aren’t as cold anymore. To be able to sleep he takes drugs and drinks. He has been searching for a job for three years, but this has resulted in nothing, he is an illegal. He survives doing petty crimes. In my opinion Mounir is a victim of a structural violence, regardless of why he fled his home. Mounir did not use to have a drinking problem, he was not a thief, he did not use hard drugs and he was not illegal. I believe that we are distributing the world’s resources in an unjust manner, striking the people at the bottom of our pyramid.
Last week hundreds of African immigrants stormed the border in Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in Morocco. The more unfair this world is the heavier we will have to guard the borders of Fort EU. Our high standard of living is on the expense of people we don’t know and care about, like Mounir. Or do you care? Let’s talk about this. Share if you care…
Today I saw a flash on Facebook from a friend abput a concert. I had heard of these instruments built out of ice and I really wanted to see them. Also, my children haven’t been to a concert before so I thought this could be a cool first time.
Inside a huge double igloo joined in the middle, there was a concert hall! All out of ice!
It was great to see people of all ages sing and be encharmed by the light and the genius of the instruments. What a great job! We even got free warm Lingonberry-juice from Jokk.
My good friend Terje Carlsson and I moved out of our apartment on Jaffa Street 51, Jerusalem. The next destination was the Golan Heights.
I had wanted to visit the Golan Heights ever since my last visit to the Middle East. I had this idea that it would look like Afghanistan, with harsh steep mountains surrounded by gravel and dust. Only partially true. The Golan Heights is a great area for growing all sorts of fruits and vegetables. Terje and I arrived right in the apple harvest season. Old men on tractors pulled cartloads of what is said to be some of the juiciest apples on Planet Earth (go and see if it’s true!).
On the way to the Golan Heights, not your ordinary road sign: Tank crossing.
The Golan Heights are also the home of vast mine fields. As our friend who used to serve in the IDF said: ”Guys, don’t mess around in these areas, it’s not a joke, if you need to step out of the car to pee, don’t leave the road at any time”
After five hour drive from Jerusalem we arrived in Majdal Shams.
Surprisingly there was a lake up in the high mountain. It is an old volcano crater called Lake Ram, which by local custom is used as a place admire nature and dump all the shit you have lying around in you car. It’s a disgrace. Sad. In my opinion, littering is a terrible crime and should be treated the same way as assault. Big up to the people of Majdal who try to keep the beach clean!
We were welcomed in the most friendly way. Alaa Alshaer, local musician, put us in contact with all the people we wanted to meet. His family is Syrian, as most inhabitants of the Golan Heights (read more about the occupation of the area on wikipedia). Israel claimed the Golan Heights in 1980 and continues to do so. The inhabitants see themselves as Syrians in exile. Alaa has never been to his homeland Syria, although the land is right across the fence erected by the UN (in the background of the picture).
It turns out that the small village of Majdal Shams has a thriving music community. Although its’ small size, the village harbors 6 different successful bands in a tightly knit network of collaborations. As a way of escaping the never ending talks about politics and occupation the young men and women of the village engage in music. The style is a wonderful cross-over between classic arabic tunes and reggae, ska, rock, rai and psychedelica.
Here is one of my favorite songs by the local band Toot Ard.
Another great band from Majdal Shams is Hawa Dafi.
You can really hear the backbeat and the arabic grooves blending in a delicious mix.
Another wonderful musician and producer is Yzn Ibraheem, a musical genius who runs Corredor Productions. From his home studio in Majdal Shams he produces music together with Terez Sliman, a Plalestinian singer (among others).
This place in Majdal Shams is known as ”the studio”. This is where the magic happens.
This is also the place where Terje and I slept during our stay in Majdal Shams. I will never forget Allaa’s words before leaving us the first night: ”Play all the drums you want guys! Good night.”
Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights is a very special place with very special and talented people. I admire them for their positive view on life, for believing and doing their own thing.
Finsk signalspanare. Foto: Finska krigsarkivet via Pertti Hänninen.
Under andra världskriget var finsk och svensk signalspaning bland världens mest ledande. För Finlands del var det en viktig del i att kunna försvara sig mot Sovjet. Numerärt underläge kompenserades med en för landet stor underrättelseapparat. Så blev det 1944 och i september misstänkte Finland att Sovjet inte skulle hålla sin del av fredsfördraget. Finska försvarsmakten fick i uppgift att förbereda för en finländsk exilregering Stockholm, samt etablera signalspanare för verksamhet på svensk mark. ”Stella Polaris” var det hemliga kodordet som för 750 personer innebar en flykt över Östersjön tillsammans med hundratals lådor topphemliga dokument och signalspaningsutrustning.
Risto Heino, den sista nu levande finländska signalspanaren som anställdes vid FRA efter Operation Stella Polaris. Foto: Carl-Magnus Helgegren
Risto Heino är 94 år gammal (nov 2013). Han är bara en i raden imponerande personer jag träffat under mitt arbete med denna dokumentären. Så utmanande att göra detta jobb. Jag har börjat förstå att det berör långt fler än de 750 – 1000 personer som ingick i Operation Stella Polaris.
Ett särskilt varmt tack till alla medverkande och Johanna Parikka Altenstedt för all hjälp. Det var slitsamt att göra den här dokumentären, med det var värt varenda lång timme på tåg.
I has been four years since I last visited Jerusalem. This city combines world religion, an ever present conflict, bad local beer until sunrise, soothing lemonade at Jerusalem hotel and people of many cultures getting on with their everyday lives. When you think of it you could easily choose a more practical destination, like the beaches of Greece, the surf of Sri Lanka or the nightlife of Berlin. But Jerusalem has this magnetic attraction. Everyday I tell myself ”Come on Carl, don’t make it another one of those 04 a.m. nights…” And I fail.
Like last time I am traveling together with my good friend Terje Carlsson. Terje has spent the last 10 years of his life roaming back and forth to this part of the world sometimes seeking refuge from the boring swedish lifestyle, sometimes fleeing back to the same detestable, safe and comfortable ground of the patria. The filth in the street, the hard headed religious people, the need for a liver change, the political status quo… I can line up many arguments for staying at home. I can also line up a longer list for buying a plane ticket with the holy city as destination. Let’s try, follow me for a few lines and pictures.
This is Noam. He is a bipolar saxophone player, one of the creatures of the night that come out when the scorching heat of the day has passed. Jewish, muslim, christian? In Jerusalem most young people don’t care, or at least they don’t express it. When a regular day offers you military patrols with automatic rifles and orthodox jews passing you by while the impressing Al Aksa mosque towers up over the Old City. The streets are paved by stone laid down by the crusaders… or was it the ancient Egyptians? The Assyrians? The Persians? The Romans, Byzantines, soldiers of the Arabic caliphate? …Ottomans? (I’ll spare you the rest of the list)
During it’s 5000 year old history the city has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. Apparently I’m not the only one finding the city magnetic and appealing. Situated on high ground the warm breeze from the surrounding desert finds its’ way through the narrow streets. I get up round noon, again having failed to stay out of the waterholes of midnight.
Jerusalem offers something for everybody. Tagging anarchists, partying christian Russians, the local Israeli pot smokers and acid heads, fat couch surfers, upset journalists… We all have a purpose, and we don’t mention the war. Not any of them. We save it for our articles, photo jobs and radio recordings.
A few days ago I played a dj set @ a local radio station, The Voice of Free Jerusalem. I had a blast, pumping out Swedish and international reggae straight into the airwawes of Israel. Many laughs, beers, maybe the odd cigarette. Rootsy vibes. In Jerusalem, the Do-It-Yourself-Culture is strong. This non-commercial radio station makes its’ revenue via the bar downstairs. Keep it rocking people, impossible is nothing.
Yesterday we were invited to Ronny Pearlman, an impressive lady fighting for human rights. Originally from the Czech Republic her family suffered the oppression of the nazis. Today she fights for better human treatment of the Palestinians crossing into Jerusalem from Ramallah. By standing at the Qalandia check point (close to where three plaestinians were shot dead last week -Aug 2013-), Ronny acts as a witness and reports to the UN if soldiers violate the rights of Palestinians.
Invited to Ronny’s colorful home we cooked her a traditional meal of fish, potatoes and spinach stew. (pretty cute in that apron hu?)
Ronny is 68 years old. I admire her spirit, her unwillingness to accept the policies imposed on her and the people she does not know but supports. When the last lights of day dimmed outside we gathered in her living room along with some of her friends. We discussed the current situation in Syria, news on the occupation of Palestine and life in general. We listened, we discussed and we laughed. Ronny gives me hope. We need more ladies of this sort.
On my way to one of my favorite places, Versavee café, I walked behind a jewish family on the way to prayer. The wall on the left is the wall surrounding the old city. The slope leads down to Jaffa Gate where Versavee is located in a small alley. It’s one of the few places in Jerusalem selling Chimay and other Belgian classics. The coffee is great, the setting is even better.
The stone pillar in the middle of the inner court is a remain from the Roman empire. Dated to 70 AD it is one in the great ancient networks of milestones erected by the Romans all the way to Rome. Today it is used as a flowerpot stand. Works fine. Jerusalem, full of people, injustices, love, passion, religion, evening breeze, an odd place full of history. See you here next time.