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Draken 03-05-2005 06:54 AM

New Book Says Russians Sank Baltic Ferry to Prevent Technology from Reaching West

Was the Baltic ferry Estonia, which was carrying 1,000 passengers, sunk be cause it carried top-secret Soviet space technology bound for the Pentagon? A new book by an experienced German investigator points to that conclusion.

Exclusive to American Free Press

By Christopher Bollyn

BERLIN—A recently published book points to covert U.S.-Russian joint ventures in transferring Soviet space technology to the West as being behind the sinking of the Estonia, the passenger ferry that went down while crossing the Baltic Sea to Stockholm on Sept. 28, 1994.

The book, Die Estonia, by Jutta Rabe, contains the first comprehensive reconstruction of the disaster bringing together eyewitness testimony, video evidence and official documents.

Rabe, a German TV-journalist, has been investigating the Estonia catastrophe since the day of the sinking when she flew to Finland to interview survivors.

The evidence Rabe presents suggests that on its final crossing, Estonia, a well-known joint venture operating between Sweden and Estonia, carried extremely sensitive cargo quite unlike the usual contraband of illicit drugs and smuggled humans. Deep in the ship’s hold, loaded on trucks headed for the West, was the fruit of decades of Soviet scientific research and development in space technology.

Although Rabe does not speculate about what was being transported, she points to a list of items found in a New York Times article by William J. Broad from Nov. 4, 1991.

Broad described the technology Pentagon officials were interested in buying from the Soviet space program. Russell Seitz from the Olin Center for Strategic Studies at Harvard University called it “the yard sale at the end of history.”

An incident in early 1991 revealed how much the U.S. military establishment coveted certain items of the Soviet space program. When a model of the Topaz 2 reactor, a Soviet nuclear-powered satellite, was displayed at a Washington symposium, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stopped it from being returned, saying that would constitute “the illegal export of nuclear technology from the United States.”

It took Richard Verga, from the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) program at the Pentagon, the State Department and the Commerce Department to persuade the NRC to let the exhibit go home.

International Scientific Products, Inc., (ISP) a San Jose, Calif.-based group, announced plans to buy one of the Soviet reactors to help the U.S. develop a similar system. At the time, ISP was engaged in a joint-venture with Russian company International Energy Technologies (INERTEK), based at the Kurchatov Research Center in Moscow. The now defunct ISP reportedly worked with SDIO.

The Pentagon had announced its intention in 1991 to spend $12 million to buy an advanced Soviet nuclear reactor for generating power in space. Leonard Caveny, deputy director of innovative science and technology at the SDIO, traveled to the Soviet space labs near Moscow, where a team of experts tested a tiny space engine that uses magnetic fields instead of fuel to move a spacecraft.

This amazing device, necessary for space-based anti-missile programs such as “Brilliant Pebbles,” fit in the palm of a hand and was available for less than $1 million.

“It’s very moderately priced,” Caveny told a reporter before his visit to Russia. Verga said the price included all associated flight hardware.

“This kind of engine has been kicking around on pa per in this country for 30 years, but never in space,” Verga said. “The Soviets are actually flying these things.”

The Soviets had plutonium-238 and heat-resistant alloys completely unknown in the West, including one made of palladium and osmium able to withstand temperatures to 3,600 degrees Celsius.

The Air Force was reportedly interested in the RD-170, reportedly the best liquid-fuel rocket engine in the world.

“The shopping spree, begun by the military” soon attracted a number of federal agencies who visited the Soviet Union in the early ’90s “to evaluate a host of high technologies,” Broad wrote.

There was, however, considerable resistance to this “shopping spree” by U.S. space technology companies who strongly opposed being undersold at the Soviet “yard sale,” according to NASA Administrator Admiral Richard Truly.

There were also different opinions at different levels of management: “It’s schizophrenic,” one industry expert said. “Middle management will talk to the Soviets, who get all excited. But when it goes to the next step, upper management is not interested, leaving the Soviets up in the air. That’s also the problem on the Soviet side. Middle management tries to cut a deal.”

Rabe says “middle-management” used joint ventures like ISP to transfer technology and names the players.

In 1993, a U.S. Army colonel named Aleksander Einseln, who worked at NATO headquarters in Brussels, left his home near San Jose to take over the command of the former Soviet military forces in his native Estonia, which became independent in 1991.

Einseln continued to report to NATO command from his position in the former Soviet republic until early 1995.

While Einseln probably knew about the technology shipment on Estonia and apparently provided troops to escort it to the harbor, Rabe told AFP she does not think he was the author of the ill-fated transfer operation.

A high-ranking military attaché from the German Bundesmarine told Rabe that when he visited Einseln in his office in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, for a meeting on the day of the disaster, he asked about the sinking.

“That was an attack against us,” said. Einseln.

Einseln, however, later denied being in Tallinn on Sept. 28 and told reporters, including German Spiegel TV, that he had been in the United States that day.

Hours after, the Estonian chief of Estline, the company that operated Estonia, said the ferry had been attacked.

Estline’s chief, Johannes Johanson, said, “Estonia was sunk by assault.”

Rabe explains how divers hired by the Swedish government spent hours breaking into cabins frantically searching for a black attaché case carried by a Russian space technology dealer, Aleksandr Voronin.

Voronin owned a company in Tallinn called “Kosmos Association” while his brother, Valeri, had a similar company in Moscow that traded weapons and space technology.

The official divers worked for Rockwater, a subsidiary of Brown & Root Energy Services (BRES), and had signed lifetime contracts obliging them to remain silent about what they did on the wreck resting 250 feet below the surface.

BRES is a subsidiary of Halliburton, formerly directed by Vice President Dick Cheney since 1995.

Rabe told AFP that Rockwater was not the low bidder but received the job by Johan Franson, head of the Swedish Maritime Administration.

Secrecy, Rabe says, was of paramount importance.

According to Rabe, video footage from the official dive, done during the first four days of December 1994, shows how divers frantically searched the cabins breaking the locks to find a black leather case.

Putin Stops The Transfers

Finally, the case was found in Cabin No. 6130, a cabin usually used by one of the ferry’s missing captains, Avo Piht. The diver read from the case: “It says Aleksandr Voronin. Does that ring any bells up there?”

Rabe points to a group of Russian nationalists from the Soviet intelligence agencies as being the culprits behind the actual sinking of Estonia. According to Rabe’s sources, the so-called Felix Group included Vladimir Putin and Ivan Ivanov, respectively the current president and foreign minister of Russia, who were strongly opposed to the wholesale looting of the Soviet arsenal.

The window of easy access to Soviet military secrets slammed shut in July 1998 when Putin was appointed director of Russia’s Federal Security Service. The Voronin company was liquidated and the American firms that dealt with them went out of business.

According to Rabe, the sinking of Estonia is summed up in one of the book’s concluding sentences: “It was the perfect coup, which could have only been carried out by secret services or groups which include former members of the secret services as members, like the networks of terrorists, regardless of their origin or motivation.”

<a href="">Estonia Litigation Association</a>

Draken 03-16-2005 05:01 AM

Israel and US Develop Infrared Beam Weapon
<a href="">Israel and US Develop Infrared Beam Weapon</a>
Christopher Bollyn - American Free Press

The theory that M/S ESTONIA was carrying advanced Soviet space and laser technology is bolstered by the COMPLETE change in attitude the Clinton Administration exhibited about developing space-based weapons, after the ESTONIA catastrophe.

This 180 degree change occurred in early 1995, shortly after the ESTONIA catastrophe.

It appears very likely that a KEY component of the space-based weapons program known as "Brilliant Pebbles" was obtained through the technology transfer conduit that the otherwise innocent car and passenger ferry ESTONIA represented.

For five days the wreck was not located although it could easily be seen in shallow water of some 150 feet from a helicopter.

Below the surface a struggle to obtain possession of the crucial cargo was being fought. Only after this struggle was concluded was it possible to locate the wreck for the anxious Swedish and Estonian publics.

An Baltic-wide multi-national military exercise had been in progress during the entire episode. Two submarines, one Swedish and one Soviet, are reported to have followed ESTONIA when it left Tallinn harbor for Stockholm. Why were they so interested? Read on.

Israel and the USA have actively developed advanced laser and infrared weapons SINCE the ferry ESTONIA sank.

Is there a connection?

By Christopher Bollyn

Was the collapse of the World Trade Center caused by a laser beam weapon? A physicist who worked on the original “deep infrared” beam weapon has reason to believe so.

Amazingly, more than five months after the greatest terror attack on America in history, the cause of the towers’ structural failure has yet to be investigated and re mains unexplained, according to America’s leading fire engineering experts.

As part of an on-going investigation, American Free Press has interviewed a German physicist who believes a laser beam weapon, employing infrared technology originally developed in the Soviet Union, may have caused the towers’ collapse.

People are still trying to understand exactly what caused the towers to completely crumble. However, it now appears likely that the federal government will not conduct an open and comprehensive inquiry and that the most important questions may remain unanswered.

Bush Wants Inestigation Limited

Both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney personally intervened and asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) to “limit the congressional investigation into the events of Sept. 11,” according to CNN. Bush made the unusual request at a private meeting with congressional leaders on Jan. 29. He asked that the House and Senate intelligence committees look only into “the potential breakdowns among federal agencies that could have allowed the terrorist attacks to occur,” rather than conduct a comprehensive inquiry.

Cheney made a similar appeal to Daschle on Jan. 25. “The vice president expressed the concern that a review of what happened on Sept. 11 would take resources and personnel away from the effort in the war on terrorism,” Daschle said. “I acknowledged that concern, and it is for that reason that the Intelligence Committee is going to begin this effort, trying to limit the scope and the overall review of what happened.”

Privately, Democrats questioned why the White House feared a broader investigation to determine possible culpability.

A forensic investigation into what actually caused the buildings to collapse has not been opened and probably never will because the crucial evidence, such as steel from the building, was quickly removed rather than taken to a metallurgical laboratory to be examined. Fire Engineering magazine, a 125-year old respected journal which publishes technical studies of major fires, recently criticized the investigation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as “a half-baked farce.”

The journal said it “has good reason to believe that the ‘official investigation’ blessed by FEMA and run by the American Society of Civil Engineers is a half-baked farce, commandeered by political forces whose primary interests . . . lie far afield of full disclosure.”

There are numerous indicators that something other than fuel fires caused the towers to collapse, including: the immense clouds of dust and apparent disintegration of some 425,000 cubic yards of concrete; the short duration and low temperature of the jet fuel fires; the fact that the rubble burned for more than three months despite being constantly sprayed with water; the report from the medical examiner that many of the dead had been “vaporized” and the absence of any flight data from the planes’ “black boxes.”

Michael Baden, M.D., New York state’s chief forensic pathologist and a top expert in the field, said most bodies should be identifiable because the fires had not reached the 3,200 degree (F), 30-minute level necessary to incinerate a body. “Recovered tissues will likely be identified,” Baden said, because “bodies are not cremated—or burnt beyond the ability to be identified—in the type of fire that occurred at the World Trade Center.”

A former East German physicist who was involved in the development of a infrared beam weapon in the Soviet Union told AFP that there is evidence that a directed energy weapon using “deep infrared” radiation was used to bring down the WTC.

The East German physicist told AFP, “From my experience as a physicist and research scientist with the GRU [Russia’s equivalent to the CIA] I have enough experience to judge that the WTC towers have been burning too quickly, too hot, and too completely to have been caused by the kerosene [jet fuel] fires that resulted from the crashes. Furthermore, the demolished buildings nearby [the 47-story Salomon Bros. Building] are an indication that there was a plasmoid cloud involved, which probably affected the buildings nearby.”

A plasmoid cloud is a heated and ionized gas that can be created and projected using far infrared thermal waves. Plasma occurs when a gas is heated so that some electrons have been separated from their atoms or molecules. Ball lightning is considered by experts to be a plasmoid phenomenon.

The physicist told AFP that he believes that a plasmoid may have been projected onto the towers before the planes struck. “The planes may have had plasmoid in front of them. Just two or three seconds before the planes hit the towers, the plasmoids on the towers would have caused the Faraday cabin effect, like a car being hit by lightning.

“The thermal infrared plasmoid would have raised the heat of the building. One should examine the videos in slow motion to see when the fires started. A plasmoid would have affected the computers in neighboring buildings, because the plasmoid affects computers and cannot be targeted precisely,” the physicist said.

If that were the case, another plasma expert says, “it seems evident that if the object [the plane] is moving at high speed in the dense lower levels of the atmosphere, the sudden collapse of the force free field and plasmoid would result in its thermal disintegration in a matter of seconds.” The absence of any data from the black boxes is a further indication of the use of a plasmoid weapon, according to the physicist.

In 1991, before the Soviet military withdrew from East Germany, the GRU demonstrated for the U.S. Air Force Electronic Security Command (AFESC) the capabilities of its infrared beam weapon by reducing a ceramic plate into dust from a distance of one mile. This display of Soviet weapon technology was meant to impress upon the U.S. Air Force “how a stealth bomber could be turned into dust in the same way,” the physicist said.

The physicist placed a slightly warmed plate on the floor of a kitchen in an apartment on the fifth floor, just below the roof. GRU headquarters, where the infrared beam originated was less than one mile away on the other side of the valley and the second transmitter or reflector was 200 meters away, with no obstacles between. An infrared beam weapon requires two sources. The TV and the oven were turned on and the TV’s remote control was put in the refrigerator. The physicist left the room and watched the TV screen, which went black for a few seconds. The physicist left the apartment for a half hour to allow AFESC personnel to examine the results.

The plate had been reduced to such tiny pieces that it was difficult to pick them up even with a vacuum cleaner, according to the physicist. “The plate was not destroyed suddenly as if hit by a bullet, rather it disintegrated in a process taking about 15 minutes.”

Although such technology is not widely discussed in the West, the Soviet infrared beam weapon is nothing new and was used during a Soviet dispute with China in 1968 to destroy “a wall” at the Ussuri River, which separates Manchuria from Russia’s Far East, according to the physicist.

Infrared light is heat producing and invisible and is found between visible light and microwave on the electromagnetic spectrum. Near infrared is closest to visible light and far or deep infrared is close to microwave. Far infrared waves are thermal and cause increased molecular vibrational activity. In other words, infrared radiation is heat.

Laser Weapon

There are indications, according to the physicist, that such a weapon was used when the KAL plane was shot down over Kamchatka in Sept. 1983. Since the early ’90s, this technology returned to scientific discussions in the West and the technology appears to have been transferred from the Soviet Union.

Since 1995, the United States and Israel have actively developed an advanced infrared beam weapon under a joint “anti-missile” program known as the Tactical High-Energy Laser (THEL). The THEL is a mobile, high-energy laser weapon.

Lasers are the leading edge of directed energy weapons. Laser weapons have been under active development for 20 years and easily constitute the most advanced of the directed-energy devices. In 1984, Jeff Hecht, author of Beam Weapons: The Next Arms Race, wrote, “The military ‘destructor beam’ definitely is in our future tactical arsenal.”

The advanced technology and plasma physics involved in directed-energy weapons give them unprecedented lethal power. Among their more important features are: the ability to fire energy “bullets” at or near the speed of light; to redirect their fire toward multiple targets rapidly; their long range; and their ability to transmit lethal doses of energy in a fraction of a second. No conventional ammunition is required—only fuel for the power generator is needed.

THEL is part of a joint program known as Nautilus, in which the U.S. Army and the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) have developed infrared laser weapon systems. The prime contractor, TRW Space and Electronics Group, has been involved in the development of high energy laser systems since the early 1970s. A host of Israeli engineers and companies are involved in the program including the aerospace companies Rafael, Israel Aircraft Industries, and Tadiran.

THEL is a mobile system ostensibly designed to destroy rockets, such as the Russian-made Katyusha. The THEL employs the Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL). The MIRACL is a megawatt class, deuterium-fluoride chemical laser. The weapon’s systems can be transported in one or two shipping containers.

The THEL successfully destroyed a short range rocket in flight on Feb. 9, 1996. As a result, the United States and Israel began joint development of a Tactical High Energy Laser/Rapid Acquisition Demonstrator (THEL/ RAD) system. In April 1996, President Bill Clinton and Secretary of Defense William Perry met Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. The United States made a commitment to assist Israel in the development of a THEL Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator (ACTD) laser by the end of 1998. Congress gave more than $55 million for THEL development in 1997.
Expense to the U.S. taxpayer and U.S. national security are apparently not considerations at the political level when sharing the results of U.S. weapons development programs with Israel. Nautilus was offered to Israel in the form of a multimillion-dollar “research grant.”

The funding for Nautilus research was part of a $2 billion military grants package Clinton offered to Peres. Israel’s access to real-time U.S. satellite imagery and at least $50 million for accelerated development of the “Nautilus” laser system were included in the Clinton package.

“Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable and it will remain so because Israel must have the right to defend itself, by itself.” Clinton said while giving Israel an additional $200 million in U.S. taxpayer money above and beyond the “official” $5.5 billion figure.

Described as the “the world’s first high-energy laser weapon system,” THEL Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator (ACTD) reportedly shot down a rocket with a live warhead on June 6, 2000, at the Army’s High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility (HELSTF), White Sands Missile Range, N. M. The THEL-ACTD is a highly mobile “stand-alone defensive weapon system” unlike the earlier version.

“We’ve just turned science fiction into reality,” said Lt. Gen. John Costello, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

“The THEL/ACTD shoot-down is a watershed event for a truly revolutionary weapon,” said Tim Hannemann, executive vice president and general manager, TRW Space & Electronics Group.

During the test of THEL/ACTD, an armed Katyusha rocket was fired from a rocket launcher placed at a site in White Sands Missile Range. Seconds later, the THEL/ ACTD, located several miles away, detected the launch with its fire control radar, tracked the streaking rocket with its high precision pointer tracker system, then engaged the rocket with its high-energy chemical laser. Within seconds, the 10-foot-long, five-inch-diameter rock et exploded.

This weaponry, which is usually described as defensive in the context of anti-missile applications, can be mounted on an airplane, ship, land-based station, or satellite. It can bombard its target with either beams that will destroy it outright, or by beams of lesser strength to disable the target’s electronics and cause it to go out of control.

If the WTC had been struck by a similar weapon, than it is very likely, according to the East German physicist that one of the transmitters would have been placed in a high building nearby and the second one on a ship or across the East River. Some of the questions that should be asked would be: How long did the towers’ emergency power supply continue to function and had the computers in the towers been disturbed?

Draken 03-23-2005 02:50 PM

2005.01.22 - Who Kidnapped Captain Avo Piht?


By Christopher Bollyn
Exclusive to American Free Press

The recent revelations of "enforced disappearances" of two Egyptian "terror suspects" carried out in Sweden in 2001 may shed light on the fate of nine missing survivors from the Estonia catastrophe of 1994.

Last week, in an article entitled "‘Ghost Planes’ Make Suspects Disappear," American Free Press reported that a U.S. registered Gulfstream 5 executive jet played a role in the "extraordinary rendition" or “enforced disappearance” of two Egyptian "terror suspects" from Sweden in 2001.

As reported, there is evidence that a similar abduction may have occurred in Sweden in the days following the Estonia ferry disaster of late September 1994.

According to Swedish journalist Sven Anér, enforced disappearances from Sweden are nothing new. More than 10 years ago, on Sept. 28, 1994, nine Estonian crewmembers, who evidently survived the Estonia ferry disaster, disappeared without a trace.

Arlanda doc 1Documents pertaining to the 1994 and 2001 disappearances from Sweden point to U.S. registered private jets being used in both cases. Anér has provided AFP with airport documents concerning the aircraft suspected of being involved in the abduction of the nine missing Estonians.

Enforced disappearance, according to the Rome Statute of 1998, "means the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time."

Enforced disappearance, a form of kidnapping, is considered a "crime against humanity," according to the Rome Statute, which Sweden ratified in June 2001.


Arlanda doc 2Ten years ago, in the immediate aftermath of the Estonia ferry disaster, which took the lives of some 852 people on Sept. 28, 1994, at least nine Estonian crew members, which official survivor lists show having survived the sinking, later mysteriously disappeared in what appears to be a government-organized abduction and enforced disappearance.

While the original survivor lists contain the names of 146 individuals, shortly thereafter the names of 11 crew members, who had been listed as survivors, were deleted without explanation from the lists maintained by the Swedish and Finnish authorities.

Anér has found 15 different original lists of survivors, all of which include the names of 11 Estonian crew members whose names were later deleted. It should be noted that in order for a name to appear on the list, a survivor was required to give his name, date of birth, status and nationality.

There is substantial evidence that at least 9 crewmembers survived the sinking of Estonia and were later abducted and taken to Arlanda airport near Stockholm whence they were flown out of Sweden on two private aircraft.

The abduction of these 9 crew members effectively removed key witnesses who would have been able to testify about the condition of the ship and the cause of the sinking. Chief among these were one of the ship's captains, Avo Piht, who was on-board but not on duty that night, and Chief Engineer Lembit Leiger. It is thought that the other seven were crewmembers who had shared the same life raft or been rescued with Piht and Leiger in the same helicopter, Y-64.

In the first days after the sinking, it was widely reported that Avo Piht had survived. The Swedish television news program Aktuellt, for example, in the evening of Sept. 28, 1994, reported that Ronald Bergman, director of Nordström & Thulin, the Swedish firm that co-owned the vessel with the Estonian state, had called and informed them that the ship's captain had survived and was being treated in a hospital in Finland.

Bengt-Erik Stenmark, security chief at the Swedish Maritime Administration told Reuters that the international investigation committee had interviewed Captain Avo Piht. Neither Stenmark nor Reuters has ever retracted this statement.

The German television network ZDF showed a video clip on September 28 of Avo Piht and other survivors arriving at Turku University Hospital in Finland. This video was later confiscated by German intelligence agents, according to Estonia researcher Jutta Rabe.

Leiger's wife, Kairi, received a call from a relative in Sweden who told her that a Swedish police superintendent named H. Strindlund had called to inform them that her husband had survived. Lembit Leiger had reportedly been treated in Stockholm's Huddinge Hospital and been released on September 29, 24 hours after having been admitted.

The next day, Mrs. Leiger spoke to Strindlund herself. Strindlund informed her of the flight details for the plane on which Leiger would be returning to Tallinn – but he never came home.

Along with Piht and Leiger, there are at least seven other "disappeared" crew members, whose names remained on survivor lists for days: The ship's doctor, Dr. Viktor Bogdanov, Kalev Vahtras, Kaimar Kikas, Agur Targama, Tiina Müür, and the twin sisters, Hannely and Hanka-Hannika Veide.


In Tallinn, at noon on Sept. 28, 1994, the names of survivors provided by the Estonian Department of Transportation were read over the radio. Kalev Vahtras, the ship's quartermaster, was one of them.

Silver Linde, a surviving seaman, told Jutta Rabe that he had shared a hospital room in Turku, Finland, with Vahtras.

Vahtras and Linde were friends and the two spoke in the hospital. Vahtras had no noticeable injuries, although his body temperature was low and he was wrapped in blankets, Linde said.

Linde went to visit other survivors and left Kalev alone in the room. When Linde returned with another crewmember, they discovered that Vahtras was gone. His entire bed had vanished.

Linde asked a nurse about Vahtras and was told he had been transferred to another hospital. A survivor list from Turku hospital shows Vahtras' name and body temperature.

Vahtras' wife went to Turku and was told her husband was in a hospital in Sweden.

Eventually an unrecognizable and disfigured corpse said to be Vahtras was returned to Estonia with a death certificate which read: Drowned in the Baltic Sea. Linde is serving a 9-year prison sentence in Finland, the victim of a framed charge of drug trafficking.


Aftonbladet, the Swedish daily, reported on the day of the sinking that rescue worker Kenneth Svensson, on a rescue trip with Swedish Navy helicopter Y-64, rescued 9 people at about 3 a.m. on Sept. 28. Half an hour later, according to Aftonbladet, the helicopter took the rescued to Huddinge Hospital in Stockholm, arriving at 4:30 a.m., with nine persons, one of whom was dead. There is, however, no information as to who these 9 people were.

The early rescue by Kenneth Svensson, however, was completely censored from the final report (JAIC), published three years later. According to the final report, Y-64 only rescued one person at 5:10 a.m. Svensson received a medal for heroic service from Sweden's supreme commander Owe Victorin and was requested not to discuss the matter.

As AFP reported earlier, it was Owe Victorin who authorized the smuggling of Soviet weapons technology on Estonia in the first place. There was an agreement between Victorin and the commissioner of customs, Ulf Larsson, for a specific senior customs officer to clear the contraband materials, without any inspection, on arrival in Stockholm. At least two shipments of Soviet weapons technology had been delivered on Estonia under this arrangement in September 1994.

Jan Lindqvist, information chief for Sweden's civil aviation administration, provided Anér with documentation of two private planes that left Stockholm's Arlanda airport carrying a total of 9 unregistered passengers on the 28th and 29th of September.

The first plane, a Boeing 727-200, then registered VR-CLM, belonged to Larmag Aviation Cayman Ltd., a Bermuda-based company owned by Lars-Erik Magnusson, a Swedish casino owner and real estate mogul who became invested heavily in an oil and gas scheme in Turkmenistan in 1994 with funds taken from another firm, Fermenta.

The 161-seat Larmag 727 arrived from Amsterdam on the evening of Sept. 27 without passengers or cargo and left at 8:54 p.m. on Sept. 28 with 4 unregistered passengers headed for Amsterdam.

The second plane, a Gulfstream 4, registered N971L, belongs to International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC) of Los Angeles, California. ILFC, an aircraft leasing company, was founded by Leslie Gonda, born Lazlo Goldschmied in Hungary. Today, Maurice R. Greenberg's American International Group (AIG) owns ILFC and Greenberg sits on the board of directors with Gonda. The ILFC Gulfstream arrived at about 11 p.m. on the 28th without passengers from Amsterdam and left at 5:13 on the 29th with 5 unregistered passengers bound for Bangor, Maine.

AFP inquired at ILFC about who was operating the plane at the time. April Rotondi wrote that "no one" at ILFC can help with this request and hung up when asked on the phone.

Anér told AFP that there was an understanding at Arlanda that invoices for the ILFC Gulfstream were sent to the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm. In his book Mayday, about the Estonia catastrophe, Anér says, "I am convinced that both these ghost planes are connected to the Estonia catastrophe."

AFP asked Lindqvist about Anér's information. "I trust the information I gave Sven Anér," Lindqvist said. Asked about the "Kalla Fakta" exposé that a Gulfstream 5, registered to phony front companies in the U.S., was involved in the "enforced disappearance" of two Egyptians in 2001, Lindqvist said: "Through my internal sources, I know that everything in the program is correct."


The independent French-based Swedish sea-safety expert and naval architect Anders Björkman's website on the Estonia catastrophe is at:

Mr. Björkman, who is a former Swedish Navy engineer, has posted a survivor list that contains the names of 12 missing Estonian crew members and shows when and how they were rescued:

Survivor Rescue List:

This list shows that Avo Piht, Kalev Vahtras, Hannely (Anne) and Hanka-Hannika Veide were picked up by Swedish Navy helicopter Y-64 from life raft X1 at about 3:30 a.m. (Sept. 28, 1994) and taken to Huddinge Hospital in Stockholm at 4:40 a.m. This is the rescue done by Kenneth Svensson.

It should be noted that Hannely is listed with her nickname "Anne," which only she (or her sister) would have known and been able to provide.

This list also shows that Kaimar Kikas, Merit Kikas, Tiit Meos, Agur Targama, and Ago Tomingas, from life raft X2, were also picked up by helicopter Y-64 and Kenneth Svensson at about 3:50 a.m.

These nine rescued people were taken together to Huddinge Hospital, arriving at 4:40 a.m. on September 28, 1994.

These people were seen, registered and spoken to by others including other crew members and hospital personnel. In Captain Avo Piht's case, he was even filmed and interviewed. Interpol, Europe's international police force, initiated a search for Avo Piht after Estonia sank. Police don't search for dead men.

The relatives of these survivors were notified of their status and locations.

By the next day, September 29, 1994, all of these Estonians had disappeared although their names remained on some lists for more than one week.

The dozen missing Estonia crew members is one of the earliest and most egregious examples of "enforced disappearance."

Who kidnapped Captain Avo Piht and where is he?



The day after the Baltic ferry Estonia sank on September 28, 1994, Swedish newspapers reported that a "monster wave" was the likely cause of the ferry's sinking. Since then, the official explanations for Europe's worst maritime disaster since World War II have only gotten "curiouser and curiouser."

By Christopher Bollyn

The Baltic ferry Estonia, en route from Tallinn to Stockholm with some 1,000 passengers and crew on board, sank on September 28, 1994. Shortly after midnight, two concussions rocked the ship. The ferry quickly listed to starboard and sank into the frigid Baltic Sea in less than 45 minutes under circumstances which can only be described as mysterious.

Although more than 500 Swedes were among the 852 reported dead, the Swedish government has blocked every effort to recover the bodies from the wreck. Even an early offer by a Norwegian diving company to retrieve the bodies at cost was rejected. Despite repeated promises from two consecutive Swedish prime ministers that the bodies would be retrieved and the wreck would be salvaged, three months after Estonia sank the Swedish government announced that there would be no recovery operation whatsoever. Instead of retrieving the bodies, the government of Sweden hired a Dutch marine salvage firm, Smit Tak BV, that specializes in neutralizing underwater nuclear waste, spending $350 million in a failed attempt to cover the ship in concrete. The wreck lies in soft mud at a depth of between 60-80 meters.

Recent revelations in the Swedish mass media that the ferry was being used to smuggle Soviet military technology have confirmed long-held suspicions that the unexplained sinking of Estonia may have been connected to a secret space weapons cargo it was carrying.
Immediately before Estonia left Tallinn on its final voyage, Carl Övberg, a survivor and frequent passenger who had arrived at the last minute, reported that the harbor had been sealed off and that a military convoy had escorted two large trucks to the waiting ferry. As soon as the trucks were loaded, the ship's car ramp and bow visor were closed and the delayed ferry sailed for Stockholm.

Swedish state television (SVT 1) broadcast an investigative journalism program called Uppdrag Granskning on November 30, 2004, in which the former chief of customs in Stockholm confessed that Estonia had indeed been used to transport Soviet military technology to the West in September 1994. According to former customs chief Lennart Henriksson, on two occasions shortly before Estonia sank, vehicles carrying Soviet military technology had been allowed to enter Sweden without any inspection. "I have been walking around thinking about what happened for ten years," Lennart Henriksson, Stockholm's former customs chief said. "Each time Estonia's name came up I've thought the little I know should be brought into the light of day. I want to clear my conscience."

Henriksson had been ordered to allow certain vehicles carrying Soviet military contraband to pass Swedish customs without inspection on September 14 and 20, 1994, but was not working the day Estonia sank because he was on vacation. Henriksson's confession sheds new light on the sinking of Estonia. The ferry was a joint venture between a private Swedish company, Nordström & Thulin, and Estline, a company owned by the Estonian government. Prior to the SVT 1exposé, reports of Soviet military technology being smuggled on the ferry had been dismissed as "conspiracy theories." Henriksson revealed that a secret agreement existed to allow military contraband cargo to enter Sweden without being inspected by customs. This arrangement was between Owe Wictorin, then supreme commander of Sweden's military and Ulf Larsson, then general director of Swedish customs. The arrangement was known at the highest level of the government as well as at the defense department.

Normally, Swedish customs searched every vehicle coming from Estonia. That a vehicle was to pass without inspection was something Henriksson had never seen in 38 years of service.

When the ferry arrived on Sept. 14, 1994, Henriksson spoke to the driver of the expected vehicle, a Volvo 745 station wagon driven by a Frank Larsson, a false identity. When Henriksson told "Larsson" that customs was carrying out inspections, he "gave me a look, but I said the search would be faked," Henriksson said. "We opened a few boxes and as far as I could see it was military electronics in them." The customs slip showed the car belonging to a non-existent company called Ericsson Access AB, a fictitious subsidiary of AB LM Ericsson Finance. No address was given. Henriksson discovered later that the vehicle was a rental car. There is no evidence that Ericsson was actually involved in the smuggling. Although the Swedish military authorized the smuggling, the final destination of the Soviet technology is not known.

A week later, on September 20, 1994, a much larger shipment of contraband technology arrived and was allowed to pass without inspection. This time it was a van and, once again, Henriksson merely glanced into the boxes. "What were you thinking this second time?" reporter Lars Borgnäs asked. "I thought it was a strange procedure," Henriksson said. "But orders are orders and you don't reflect too much on why."


The mystery of the sinking of Estonia, however, has affected some more than others. While survivors recovered and the relatives and friends of those lost at sea mourned, a third group was left completely in limbo, where it is to this day. To this third group belong a dozen, or more, Estonian crew members who were originally reported as having been rescued, only to have mysteriously disappeared in the days following the disaster. The disappearance of these 12 Estonia crew members points to a high-level cover-up of an international intrigue. Recent revelations in the Swedish press of "enforced disappearances" of two Egyptian "terror suspects" carried out in Sweden in 2001 may shed light on the fate of missing Estonia survivors. It was recently reported in the Swedish media that a private Gulfstream 5 executive jet, registered in the United States, played a role in the "extraordinary rendition" of two Egyptian "terror suspects" from Sweden in 2001.

According to Swedish journalist Sven Anér, enforced disappearances from Sweden are nothing new. There is a body of evidence that similar abductions occurred in Sweden in the days following the Estonia ferry disaster. Shortly after Estonia sank, a dozen Estonian crewmembers, all evidently survivors of the catastrophe - disappeared without a trace.

Documents indicate that U.S. registered private jets were used in both the 1994 and 2001 disappearance cases. Anér has documents from Sweden's civil aviation administration concerning two specific aircraft suspected of being involved in the abduction of the missing Estonians. Enforced disappearance, according to the Rome Statute of 1998, "means the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time." Enforced disappearance, a form of kidnapping, is considered a "crime against humanity," according to the Rome Statute, which Sweden ratified in June 2001.

As many as 12 Estonian crew members, which official survivor lists show having survived the sinking, disappeared in what appears to be a government-organized abduction and enforced disappearance. While the original survivor lists contain the names of 146 individuals, the names of a dozen crew members who had been listed as survivors, were deleted without explanation from the lists maintained by the Swedish and Finnish authorities in the days following the disaster. Anér has found 15 different original lists of survivors, all of which include the names of 11 Estonian crew members whose names were later deleted. In order for a name to appear on the list, a survivor was required to give his name, date of birth, status and nationality.

There is evidence that some surviving crewmembers were abducted and taken to Stockholm's Arlanda airport whence they were flown out of Sweden on two private aircraft. The abductions removed key witnesses who would have been able to testify about the condition of the ship, the cargo, and the cause of the sinking. Chief among them were one of the ship's captains, Avo Piht, who was on board but not on duty that night, and Chief Engineer Lembit Leiger. It is thought that the others were crewmembers who had shared the same life raft or been rescued with Piht and Leiger in the same helicopter: Y-64.


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