Obituary: Ebbe Carlsson

BJORN KUMM is right to draw attention to the attempt to ostracise Ebbe Carlsson by drawing attention to his homosexuality, but indignation is too mild a word for Ebbe's rage, writes Richard Dowden (further to the obituary, 4 August). He was hurt by the whispering campaign about his sexuality, something he was open but dignified about, and he felt it went against the tolerance that he believed Sweden stood for. His attempt to find out who killed his friend and boss Olof Palme, and the uncomfortable theories he held about the murder, did lead to his ostracism.

When I first met Ebbe in 1983 he was at the heart of Swedish political life, Palme's personal assistant and confidant. He was an anomaly, an admirer of Margaret Thatcher in Sweden's socialist party, but his charm, humour and un-Swedish informality made him many friends. When I last saw him he felt squeezed out by the Swedish establishment partly because of his, by then publicly acknowledged, homosexuality, and partly because of the ineptitude of the secret police which he believed amounted to complicity in Palme's murder. By then the subject had become almost an obsession with Ebbe, who was usually so light-hearted and sceptical. He walked me to the place where Palme had died and demonstrated that it could not have been a sudden random attack but a carefully planned assassination.

Ebbe Carlsson's death should once again focus on the still unexplained mystery of who killed Palme and why. Ebbe's theory was that it was carried out by members of the Kurdish PKK organisation at the instigation of Iran. Iran wanted him dead because Tehran believed that the Swedish arms manufacturer Bofors was selling weapons to Iraq. Ebbe said he had overheard the parting remarks of Palme to the Iranian ambassador at a meeting just before he was killed, in which Palme had said he would do everything in his power to stop it. Ebbe did not know what 'it' was but in retrospect believed it was UN sanction-busting arms sales to Iraq by Bofors which Palme knew nothing of. Ebbe also pointed out that the other two people who may have known about the sales, the head of the Swedish arms sales office and a senior executive of Bofors, also died in mysterious circumstances.

It was the failure of the Swedish police to investigate this theory or even to investigate properly the PKK in Sweden which made Ebbe believe in a conspiracy. After his own arrest and disgrace he was hurt and angry but he was not paranoid. He was also committed to finding out who killed Palme - an important, interesting and not unworthy cause.

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little