USA paid for propaganda in Sweden in the 1950s?

Published fredag 1 mars 2013 kl 09:37
Updated, måndag 4 mars 2013 kl 16:30
En övervakningskamera vid staketet på den amerikanska ambassaden i Stockholm på lördagen. Foto: Fredrik Persson/Scanpix.
The US embassy has also been accused of illegal surveillance

Writers, journalists and other cultural figures in Sweden were supported by the CIA during the Cold War, reports Swedish Radio News. The US intelligence service had great influence on a gruop called the Swedish Committee for Cultural Freedom that included the then editor of newspaper Dagens Nyheter and the writer Vilhelm Moberg.

"It was a major achievement for the American propagandists," says history researcher Mikael Nilsson at Stockholm University. He says that the Dagens Nyheter editor in the 1950s, Herbert Tingsten, was much closer to the CIA than was previously thought.

The CIA founded the Congress for Culture Freedom in 1950 with the aim of opposing the Soviet Union's cultural influence in the west.

In Sweden several important cultural figures, plus Social Democrat politician Ture Nerman, formed the Swedish Committee for Cultural Freedom. Author Birgitta Stenberg says that the Swedes' newsletter was always sent to the CIA-controlled Congress to be checked before publication.

"It should have made us suspicious," she says to Swedish Radio.

History researcher Mikael Nilsson also says that during the Cold War many local newspapers simply reproduced material offered by the US Embassy's information bureau, without saying where it came from.

CORRECTION: The planned documentary was shelved, following new information about DN editor Herbert Tingsten. A researcher writing a book about Tingsten says there is no evidence that he had close links to the Committee. Swedish Radio has now decided to delay broadcast of the documentary until the end of March. They will look into the new information before broadcast, they say, but add it only affects a small part of the programme.

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