It’s Baaack!

Just when you least expect it, and just when you’d much rather have an update on the Viktor Bout trial [not much happening there], those pesky Finns resurrect ancient history by making wild, implausible claims about the storied 2009 voyage of the MV Arctic Sea.  This from Sunday’s edition of a leading Helsinki newspaper:

According to two Finnish crisis security experts, Timo Hellenberg and Pekka Visuri, the Arctic Sea … is likely to have been carrying raw materials for use in chemical warfare … [when it] was hijacked in 2009 while en route from Finland to Algeria.

Visuri and Hellenberg believe that the ship was empty when it arrived in the Finnish port city of Pietarsaari to take on its cargo of lumber.  It is their theory that material that could be used in nuclear technology or in chemical and biological weaponry may have been loaded onto the ship at sea in Swedish waters. …

Hellenberg and Visuri do not believe that the ship carried heavy anti-aircraft missiles, as was suggested [at the time]; such weapons would not have fit in the ship because it was full of lumber loaded in Finland.

These Finnish “experts” conclude that “the action was the work of professional criminals, and the probable destination was the Middle East. … They do not believe that the Russian government would have been involved, simply because it would have had easier ways of delivering such goods.

Here’s Lunghu’s assessment of this Finnish pastry puff-piece:

  • These “crisis security experts” are seeking deflect potential criticism of Finland’s border/port security protocols by asserting that the contraband never transited Finnish territory  –it “may have been loaded onto the ship at sea in Swedish waters.
  • The Finns are bending over backwards to avoid offending their next-door neighbor Comrade Bear, who will soon (once again) be Comrade President Bear.  Hence the rather implausible claim that “they do not believe that the Russian government [was] involved.”   This despite the fact they concede that “the MV Arctic Sea had been in Kaliningrad, where such materials are stored … [and] such (chemwar) goods were under the control of the [Russian] state.
  • Visuri and Hellenberg base their exoneration of the RF government on the facile assertion that the Russians “would have had easier ways of delivering such goods.”   Really?  Even if plausible deniability happened to be the single most important feature of this particular transaction?  And what if those “easier ways” of delivering contraband customarily involved the logistics networks operated by a certain guest of the Kingdom of Thailand —Viktor Bout?   Not quite so easy anymore.
  • There’s not much (if any) evidence presented by these experts, and more “believing” than a Bible Belt tent revival meeting.  But that’s because they’re not really seeking to prove anything –they’re running a minor information operation on behalf of Finland.

The researchers find it mysterious that the hijacking of a ship did not cause a major stir in any country.  Why didn’t the EU and NATO do anything? [Oh, they definitely did something, all right! In Spain. For a couple of weeks!]
“There is a tangible possibility of a conspiracy there,” says Pekka Visuri.

At least we can agree on something.


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