Sometimes around 1974, 75, my father Klas told us he was going for a businesstrip to Africa. Normally he worked as a ship inspector, but I´d understood he also had some dubious partners wanting to do money from various hot spots in the world. One time we got to hear about some fantastic plans to fly a MIG out of the Sovjetunion. Another time they had used tanks in mind. Now it seemed to be Angola as the target for their interest. Not surpricingly, the former portuguese colony had had a freedom war since 1961, which escalated to a civil war in november 1975. At the time I didn´t think anything really about this. In this time I would signify the whole trip as a nearly suicidal act.
Father left for Africa and travelled in the cargoroom of a transportplane from freighter firm Braathens, sitting on some tubes of oxygen. His story was very vague and nowadays I question why he couldn´t or wouldn´t be more specific. Being an expert on pressure tanks it seems very unlikely he couldn´t or wouldn´t have figured out what these tubes were or their content. And if he didn´t know what they were, why was he even on the trip in the first place? No, I think he was sent with the freight as a “Swede”, as a figure head, untouchable to every kind of suspision. And yes what a swede he was!
The cubans and the sovjets 2
Luanda and the coastal surroundings were since long held by the Sovjet- and Cubasupported gerilla, the MPLA. The source for the fighting was firstly to make Angola free from the old colonial power Portugal and secondly to obtain power over natural resources. The total picture you get when taking into consideration this war was a cold war “venue”, with world power nations behind domestic fighting units. This revolution finally stopped all colonial reign for Portugal, but led to another ordeal. The civil war not ending before 2002, when the leader of UNITA, Jonas Savimbi, died. UNITA was the US- and Southafricasupported gerilla in the south. In the northeast a third gerilla acted. They were called the FNLA, supported by Zaire. Agostihno Neto, the MPLA leader was the Republic of Angolas first president from 1975.
So, the capital was more or less a zone free from fights. You had still to be cautious. Raids occured and no mercy followed that, not from any side. One morning my father said he woke up by a quick thumping sound from the outer wall. When he dared, he saw the balkony wall was full of bulletholes. And I tell you this to show the severity of the situation. Who knows? Not that he ever admitted to having being afraid, or so. But swedes aren´t afraid, are they?
The cubans and the sovjets 3
Anyway Luanda was surely one of the safest places to be in Angola. My father told us about a fairly simple life, with hours on the beach and he also met a mulatto girl called Amelia. Met should possible be changed to “was assigned to”, because I think her profession suited to keep up appearances and hide the purpose of my fathers mission and to lure a gullible fall guy. When my father came home, I remember standing outside in the sun at our country house and father bragged about his “mistress”. My parents hadn´t yet been married 30 years and I think this was the point in time I saw my poor mother Ingrids eyes look up to him with any glimpse of young love left. The light and life in them darkened and faded during the conversation.
I´m sorry, I have no stories about the “business”. Father came home with some 15 000 in his shoe and the sum doesn´t imply he made or was payed for any bigger efforts on business. It rather strengthens my thoughts of father being this figure head for others.
MPLA, FNLA and UNITA began to fight over sovereignity in 1975. The situation and the feeling of Luanda being safe escalated and suspicion flourished. For my father, and possibly some “business partners” of him it showed abruply, when they were arrested sometime in the spring of 1975.
The Cubans and the Sovjets 4
We knew nothing of this. No authorities were ever in contact concerning this. No lawyers. No nothing. But our fathers story later on telling us what happened. He didn´t mention any circumstances, but the telling is supporting the other picture of what he really did in Angola. Of course I don´t know who arrested him, but both MPLA and UNITA are suspects in my mind, depending on who they were making business with and when. It´s just possible they made business with both parts. One associate was a man called von Seca, whose name indicate he could have been portuguese. I don´t speculate about this anymore. I think you´d risk anything from anyone in this situation. von Seca risked it. He was murdered with a sharp object, like an icepick but smaller, thrusted up into his hart. There was nearly no entrancehole, father told us. Which tells me my father probably saw the man dead.
I don´t have any details around the “imprisonment”. Nothing about allegations. Not on who were the accusers. No, no, nothing! The imprisoned took actions themselves and through others contacted one Claës Palme in Stockholm. The lawyer I mentioned earlier in addition to “The Tsesis accident” 1977. I think this was on my fathers initiativ, since he was the one “businessman” knowing Palme and working in the same “field” as him. I don´t think it necessarily was my fathers intention, but Claës contacted his brother Olof Palme, who had contact both with the Cubans and the Russians, opposite from what he had with Portugal, USA and Southafrica. It was Olof Palmes interaction that made my father come home.
If Olof Palme was murdered by a private person, an organisation, a joint venture of police- or military men, CIA, the Southafricans or anyone else isn´t the discussion here. Of course not. I´m just pointing at my fathers “businesstrip” and circumstances in acting and contacts Palme had, that correlates with what his opposition accused him for. These are common facts. No news…
This story is for many reasons not verifiable. That doesn´t mean it isn´t true. Writing it down is to point out that a story, or history, is not before you frame it in and hang it up. No matter how embarrasing or disclosing.
P.S I loved my father, not always his acts. D.S