Jumblatt admits sheltering Cold War spy Stig Bergling in Lebanon for 4 years, report

Stig Bergling , jumblatt, USSR
Progressive Socialist party leader MP Walid Jumblatt ( C) admits sheltering Stig Bergling (R) , one of Sweden’s most notorious Cold War spies who was spying for the former Soviet Union

Within days  from the announcement of the death of  the  famous Cold War spy known  for his escape,   Progressive Socialist party leader  MP Walid Jumblatt unraveled   the mystery of the escape .

Stig Bergling, one of Sweden’s most notorious Cold War spies, who escaped from prison in 1987 during a conjugal visit, died Jan. 24 in Stockholm. He was 77.

Jumblatt  revealed his role in sheltering Bergling in an article  in PSP’s Al-Anbaa  newspaper on  Thursday under the title, “Moukhtara and The Cold War

“Somebody one day will write my biography,” Jumblatt wrote . “I might be present to give [the biographer] information or I might be reincarnated in China according to Druze faith, in which case I do not know if the potential biographer would be fluent in Mandarin.” The Druze leader wrote .

Jumblatt admits sheltering  Bergling for 4 years .

“I was involved in hiding him for four years at the Moukhtara palace in Lebanon between 1990 and 1994,” Jumblatt said in reference to his Palace in the Shouf region of Mt Lebanon

Jumlbatt revealed that In 1990 the then-deputy director of soviet military intelligence, Gen. Vladimir Izmailov   visited  Moukhtara palace, along with two other individuals.

“With the Soviets and the Russians, serious talk starts after five or six shots of vodka, and numerous toasts to the Lebanese-Soviet friendship,” Jumblatt wrote. The PSP chief recalled the conversation he had with Izmailov and quoted the Soviet general as saying: “Comrade Walid you are a great friend of the Soviet Union and we will never forget your position supporting the cause of the Soviet people.”

Following the Soviet sweet-talk, Izmailov  reportedly asked Jumblatt if he could shelter somebody at the Moukhtara Palace. “How could I refuse?” Jumblatt asked. “The Soviets provided [us] with hundreds of scholarships, trained the militia of the Progressive Socialist Party … in their bases and provided us with the equivalent of $500 million of weapons and ammunition between 1979 until the late eighties for free.”

The Druze leader noted that he agreed “without hesitation” before continuing his “endless lunch” with his  visitors. “I wonder how many bottles of vodka were consumed  for this event, of course for the common cause of fighting ‘Imperialism.’”

Two weeks later, Stig Bergling and his wife Elisabeth Sandberg  reportedly appeared at Jumblatt’s threshold. The couple was given residence in the second floor of the house of  MP Nehme Tohme, who is described by the PSP chief as a “great friend of the Jumblatt family.”

“For the coming four years he [Bergling] was our guest and our partner at dinner or lunch,” Jumblatt said, before shifting in to the suspicions he had harbored as a result of the Soviets’ request.

“For the Soviets to ask me to hide one of their numerous spies was quite odd,” he noted. “Later my suspicions were confirmed that something was wrong in the Soviet empire because after one year it just collapsed.”

According to the PSP chief, Bergling fled Lebanon in 1994 and went back to Sweden when Jumblatt was visiting Moscow. “He was jailed again ..

Th following is the obituary of Stig Bergling as it appeared in the New York Times on Saturday

Stig Bergling, one of Sweden’s most notorious Cold War spies, who escaped from prison in 1987 during a conjugal visit, died Jan. 24 in Stockholm. He was 77.

No cause was announced. Mr. Bergling, who died in a nursing home, had been ill with Parkinson’s disease for many years.

A former officer in Sweden’s national security police, Mr. Bergling stood trial in 1979 on charges that he had sold military secrets to the Soviet Union. Convicted that year, he was sentenced to life in prison.

What followed — including Mr. Bergling’s escape (inadvertently abetted by the Swedish authorities); an international manhunt (inadvertently abetted by the Soviets); his years on the lam amid swirling rumors of his whereabouts; and his voluntary return to Sweden, reimprisonment, and later parole — was a dark absurdist farce that made headlines around the world.

Mr. Bergling’s flight from custody was a major scandal in Sweden, long known both for its progressive penal policies and its efficiency. In the wide consensus of the international media, what made his escape possible was far too much of one and far too little of the other.

Stig Eugen Bergling was born in Stockholm in 1937 to a middle-class family: His father was in the insurance business; his mother was a secretary. In the late 1950s he became a police officer; a decade later he was appointed to the security police, an intelligence agency whose duties included counterespionage and counterterrorism.

Mr. Bergling’s job gave him access to some of Sweden’s most sensitive military documents, and in the 1970s he was alleged to have sold nearly 15,000 of them to the Soviets. It was avarice, not ideology, he later said, that turned him to espionage.

In 1979, Mr. Bergling was arrested in Tel Aviv and extradited to Sweden. At trial, there emerged a narrative of spy craft that in its 20th-century sensibilities — microdots, radio communications, letters in invisible ink — now seems almost quaint.

Although he was given a life sentence, under Sweden’s penal laws, which emphasize rehabilitation rather than punishment, Mr. Bergling might well have been paroled after about 15 years.

In 1986, while serving his sentence in Norrkoping, in eastern Sweden, Mr. Bergling married a longtime friend, Elisabeth Sandberg. Over the next year he was granted a series of conjugal visits at her apartment in a Stockholm suburb, including one in 1987 for which the couple planned very carefully.

That autumn, Mr. Bergling’s wife rented several automobiles under her name and took out a bank loan of some $12,000.

The Swedish authorities had already unwittingly furthered the couple’s plans by allowing Mr. Bergling — who said he hoped for eventual parole and a fresh start afterward — to change his name to Eugen Sandberg. According to news reports, they also issued him a new passport in that name.

On the evening of Oct. 6, 1987, an unarmed guard escorted Mr. Bergling to his wife’s home for a routine conjugal visit. In the interest of propriety, the guard repaired to a nearby hotel for the night.

On Oct. 7, when the guard called at the apartment, the two were nowhere to be found. As Mr. Bergling described it afterward, they had stolen out the backdoor early that morning, disguised as joggers, availed themselves of at least one of the waiting cars, made for Finland and from there traveled to the Soviet Union.

It took more than 10 hours before the Swedish authorities issued an official alert for Mr. Bergling, partly because they seemed confused, according to news reports, about which name to search for. But by then he had crossed the border, undetected, as Eugen Sandberg.

An international furor ensued. On Oct. 19, Sten Wickbom, the Swedish justice minister, resigned over the escape.

For the next seven years, with police forces in 70 countries alerted to their flight, Mr. Bergling and his wife were reported to have roamed throughout Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Amid a welter of rumors — among them that he had undergone plastic surgery and was ensconced in Vienna, selling real estate — they eluded their pursuers.

In February 1991, with the fugitives still at large, a Swedish television station wrote to the Soviet authorities, alerting them to the suspected presence in their country of an escaped Swedish criminal named Eugen Sandberg. (The letter failed to mention the precise nature of his crimes.)

Believing Eugen Sandberg to be a garden-variety crook, the Soviet interior minister obligingly took to the airwaves, exhorting the public to search for him. But this, too, proved of no avail.

In 1994, saying they were homesick for their families, Mr. Bergling and his wife returned to Sweden of their own accord. Mr. Bergling was returned to prison; his wife, who was not charged, died of cancer in 1997.

Mr. Bergling, who was paroled on medical grounds that year, is believed to have been married and divorced at least once since then; information on survivors could not be confirmed. In recent years he had used the surname Sydholt.

In the wake of Mr. Bergling’s arrest, Sweden was forced to reorganize its defense and security operations at an estimated cost of $45 million, United Press International reported in 1987. By all accounts the cost of his flight in terms of international embarrassment was also considerable.

“Apart from actually giving him a ticket to Moscow,” an unnamed Swedish official told the Australian newspaper The Courier-Mail in 1987, “there was not much more we could have done.”

  • 5thDrawer

    Wow. In Lebanon. One Confession. 8-0

  • arzatna1

    I wonder what other surprises Jumblatt is hiding !!!
    He may probably reveal some surprises in his upcoming testimony before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
    If not , we may have to wait until he is reincarnated

    • MekensehParty

      He wished to be reincarnated as a “zebbel” in NY if I remember well
      Perfect punishment for him to gather the trash of the imBerialists for a whole lifetime

  • MekensehParty

    Maybe Interpol would want to look into these confessions. Soviet camaraderie and Vodka are great to dramatize the story, but harboring an international criminal by Interpol definition is still a crime.
    Anyway, it’s all about not going to the Hague. He’s avoiding giving testimony to the tribunal to hide yet another crime.