Wednesday, November 22, 2006

CSI: Stockholm

Swedish police have been given the gun that may have killed Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986.  It was found by divers working for a newspaper, who searched based on an anonymous tip.  The gun had been used in a 1983 robbery in a town near the lake (making it an unlikely weapon for a professional intelligence agency). Christer Pettersson, who was convicted of the murder, then acquitted on appeal, and subsequently ‘confessed’, has since died (in the middle of all this, he was seriously attacked himself, by a man said to be ‘under the influence of alcohol’). 

The gun story is complicated.  The bullets that killed Palme were from the same batch that were fired in the 1983 robbery.  The gun is of the same type as used to kill Palme.  The robbers claim they threw the gun used in the 1983 robbery in the lake in 1983, meaning that it would have had to have been retrieved from the lake, used to kill Palme, and thrown back in. Alternatively, they could have saved bullets from the 1983 batch, which somehow were used by the 1986 Palme murderers in a different gun.  An odd story either way.

The Swedish police bungled the investigation, the only question being whether they did so intentionally (they followed the old trick, most recently used in the FBI anthrax investigation, of barking up the wrong trees).  It seems likely that they were covering up for police involvement, other government involvement, or right-wing business involvement.  The anonymous tipster would have presumably come forward earlier if Pettersson was the real killer, and must want to see the crime solved.  I imagine some members of the Swedish establishment are a little nervous.