Here's another goodie. So, let me recap a little. Last spring the Swedish newspaper SvD suddenly revealed that according to unnamed intelligence sources, the Russian Air Force had been carrying out simulated attacks on targets in Sweden. This purported event was quickly dubbed "the Russian Easter" in the news, as the exercises in question had occured on Good Friday. At the time the story was quite vague. What was clear is that the Russian Air Force flew around over the Baltic as part of the large defense drill Ladoga 2013, and that the Swedish Air Force failed to respond in time. Now, the Russian aircraft never entered Swedish airspace or anything of the sort, but it is customary to "greet" visitors in international airspace and escort them about. Since the SweAF apparently failed to do so for unknown reasons (no order was ever given, it seems like), people were quick to label this a symptom of our failed defense and so on. To make matters worse, NATO aircraft based in the Baltics as part of the Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission promptly took to the skies and shadowed the Russians from afar, and were later said to have commented on the odd lack of Swedes in the air at the time. Naturally, the whole event was quickly adopted into an overt PR campaign for NATO entry by certain pundits. Now in early 2014 another bomb was dropped. Apparently the Russians were carrying out simulated nuclear attacks against targets such as FRA's (our NSA-equivalent) headquarters outside Stockholm, and an airbase in southern Sweden: Exercised with nuclear weapons against Swedish targets http://www.expressen.se/nyheter/ovade-med-karnvapen-mot-svenska-mal/ Now, before I continue it has to be said that it was revealed not long ago that the FRA isn't merely our equivalent to the NSA, it can almost be considered a direct subsidiary of the NSA and the British GCHQ. Here are some articles on the matter from the past year: FRA hacked computers for the NSA http://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/fra-hackade-datorer-at-nsa/ Sweden 'spied on Russia leaders for US' http://rt.com/news/sweden-spied-russia-nsa-759/ FRA has access to controversial surveillance system http://www.svt.se/ug/article1666993.svt Much thanks to Snowden it was revealed that the FRA conducts industrial espionage on the Russian energy sector, spies on its political leadership, taps into vast amounts of Russian internet traffic and so on. And all of this is freely shared with the American NSA, and the NSA has provided the tools to make this possible. FRA themselves were quick to deny it, but when presented with the evidence they instead said that Swedens interests came first and that the NSA was nothing but a faraway colleague in the fight against terrorism... Yes, that old card. Well, NSAs own papers say otherwise but what do they know? Just the other day, the European Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs expressed further concerns regarding mass surveillance in the EU, in which Swedens FRA plays an important part: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+COMPARL+PE-526.085+02+DOC+PDF+V0//EN Now, this is by no means a recent development. FRA conducted signals intelligence for the Americans already in the 1950's, which resulted in for example the "Catalina affair" in 1952. That's when Russian fighters scrambled and shot down a Swedish SIGINT aircraft (a modified DC-3) in international airspace, and later attacked a Catalina flying boat that was on the look out for the lost DC-3. This occured after a series of both American and Swedish breaches of Soviet airspace, and the plane in question was equipped with American spy gear and had been attempting to photograph and provoke aggressive response from a Soviet ship on maneuvers, in order to record signals from its tracking radars et cetera and later hand these over to the US. Now, this whole thing was shushed up. The official story was that it was a "navigation" flight and that the plane was lost for unknown reasons. Later, it came to be mostly about the Catalina (hence the popular name for the incident) and how the Soviets attacked it, which caused a public outrage against the USSR as the innocent "navigation" story was still prevailing. The Swedish public only recently got to know what happened, but the "full" official story that was published in the 1990s still omitted details such as the deep American partnership and the prior provocations etc. There is reason to believe that there was an US national on the plane as well, but that is yet to be confirmed. Anyway, the Swedish public has been kept in the dark about these things (there are many, many other similar things that have only recently been revealed) and apparently the plan was to keep them in the dark about the ongoing and by all means extensive NATO sucking up as well. The government has made a huge effort trying to hide from the public the fact that Sweden was never very neutral (contrary to the popular narrative) and that it was deeply involved with the US, NATO and their various intelligence agencies, on all levels. Of course, the Soviets knew this, as does Russia. So to cut back to the nukes. Basically the most recent scoop has it that two Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfires conducted simulated launches of nuclear cruise missiles against the FRA headquarters and an airbase (an airbase that in case of war probably would be given away to NATO in a heartbeat, in line with numerous hints of secret agreements). How they know that simulated nukes were involved I do not know, supposedly it was revealed by radio intercepts. Of course, the way this is being treated in the medias is as usual something akin to "Russia plans to nuke poor neutral Sweden for no particular reason other than ill will". Personally, I have two problems with this. First of all, I highly doubt that the current narrative is truthful - it rarely is. Unfortunately it may take decades before a more nuanced assessment becomes possible as they're typically very keen on withholding vital pieces of information, and by that time whatever political impact they intended to achieve has already been well established. Secondly, I am surprised that little (if any) attention is given to the fact that for half a century we've actively been trying to include ourselves in Soviet/Russian war plans, and that these aspirations have been kept away from the public who was instead led to believe that we tried to stay out of things as per our neutral status. It's like we've become that annoying brat constantly out to provoke, only to run home and cry and complain about injustices when people get tired of it. And again, this unbeknownst to and against the wishes of our people. Pardon the gargantuan post, but I am very interested in foreign perspectives on this all. Perhaps even Russian ditto, if anyone can provide them.