Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Clouded Transparency

A fundamental part of the Swedish democratic structure is the rule that everything is public unless expressly declared to be classified by certain strict criteria. Most other nations have the opposite rule, where everything is secret unless expressly declared as public. 

These rules have been considered so important in Sweden that the laws surrounding them have been made into constitutional laws since 1766. According to the rules every document received, dispatched or drawn up by a public authority are to be made available without delay or cost to the public. The documents should be recorded in a diary without delay showing
a) the date the document was received, dispatched or drawn up by the authority,
b) the serial number or other designation that has been given to the document,
c) from whom the document has been received or to whom it has been dispatched and
d) a brief summary of what the document pertains.

Today it was revealed that the Cabinet Office has been fiddling with the rules in an attempt to cover up a scandal that erupted earlier this year concerning a weapons factory collaboration between Sweden and the Saudi Arabian dictatorship. An email from 2010 has been removed from the Cabinet Office´s diary contrary to all rules. The email contained sensitive information showing that the Swedish government was well aware of the illegal and irregular setup of the collaboration, long before the time when the government have previously admitted to any knowledge of the scheme.

The fact that it has been revealed that the highest public officials in the country have been involved in such unconstitutional acts that have undermined well established rules of the Swedish democracy is certain to have serious ramifications.


  1. Sigh, I am disappointed in the officials and their lack of appreciation for the rule of law and their constitution. Coincidentally, I heard an excellent radio broadcast today on the same topic - only it was Obama's disregard for constituional authority in ordering drone strikes. So it appears the Swedish officials are not alone in their reckless disregard. While Obama's decisions may not be clear constitutional violations, they are a bit too close for my comfort.

    Take comfort in the fact these transgressions have come to light and democracy has worked once again!

    1. We must always keep a steady eye on the-powers-that-be!

      Both of us are fortunate enough to live in countries with a free press, that is a great comfort to me.


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