Ola Tunander

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Person.png Ola Tunander   Amazon SubstackRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(Author, Researcher, Historian, Statecraft/Analyst)
Alma materLinköping University
Exposed • The secret war against Sweden
• Sweden/Deep state
Interests • deep politics
• deep state
• deep events
A Norwegian Academic and author of a lot of material relating to the Deep State.

Ola Tunander is a Swedish/Norwegian Academic and researched into the Deep State. He has written and edited 12 books and a number of articles on security politics, naval strategy, submarine operations, geopolitics, dual state, psychological operations (PSYOP) and Cold War history.

He worked as a researcher at the International Peace Research Institute Oslo in the period 1987-2016, but was forced into early retirement by management because his research area became too politically sensitive.

Research papers

His paper "Democratic State v Deep State" is a standard modern text on the Deep State in the Western World.

His paper "File:The Use of Terrorism to Construct World Order.pdf" puts the events of 9-11 into the context of earlier post-WWII terrorist attacks, arguing that "terrorism" is a carefully orchestrated and calibrated Machiavellian tool of the Western Security elites and is being used systematically to move the world towards Anglo-US-NATO hegemony.

Education and early career

Ola Tunander is the son of Museum Director Ingemar Tunander and his first wife Gunvor (born Lilja). Tunander is married to the Chinese scholar Yao Xiaoling.

After obtaining a Masters in economic history at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) in 1981, Tunander wrote for philosophical magazines and in 1985 he published two books in Swedish. In 1987, he wrote a volume on United States Maritime Strategy for the Swedish Defence Research Agency. In 1989, he defended his doctoral dissertation at the Department for Technology and Social Change, Linköping University. While finalizing his doctoral thesis Cold Water Politics (1989) on US Maritime Strategy, technology, and the geopolitics of the North, he received a research position at PRIO in Oslo. In 1989, he was appointed Senior Research Fellow and was given tenure. He lectured at the U.S. Center for Naval Analyses and Naval Postgraduate School. In 1995, he became the head of PRIO's Foreign and Security Policy Program. In 2000, he was appointed research professor.[1]


From the early 1990s, Tunander wrote on military strategy, confidence-building measures,[2] region-building[3] and US remaking of world order.[4] He headed a Nordic study group, "A new Europe", from mid-1980s with Ole Wæver, Iver B. Neumann, Sverre Jervell, and Espen Barth Eide. Robert Bathurst and Tunander initiated Norwegian-Russian dialogue seminars in the early 1990s. In 1994, he co-edited a volume on the post-Cold War regional cooperation in Arctic Europe, The Barents Region with contributions by Norwegian and Russian foreign ministers. Tunander wrote contributions about Northern Europe, Nordic Cooperation,[5] and Scandinavism published by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swedish Olof Palme International Center.[6] He contributed to the Russian journal International Affairs. Tunander wrote and edited two Swedish books on power, identity, and territory and co-edited Geopolitics in Post-Wall Europe (1997). After 2000, he organized Nordic-Chinese dialogue conferences with the Chinese Institute of International Studies and the Nordic peace research and international affairs institutes. He also participated in a Washington dialogue.

Government of the Shadows

He argued in articles and in a joint book, Government of the Shadows (2009),[7] that U.S. hegemonic power divided the single Western state into a "dual state": a regular democratic hierarchy versus a security hierarchy linked to the U.S. He developed the concept of "dual state" as composed by a regular democratic state or "public state"[8] that acts according to the rule of law, and by a covert "deep state" or "security state" able to veto the decisions of the former (Morgenthau)[9] and to "securitize" regular politics by making certain activities an issue of life and death.[10] His concept of the "deep state" was in 2007 brought to the US by Peter Dale Scott.[11] Tunander quotes his conversation with James Schlesinger, who spoke about a Swedish "dual state": the neutral "Political Sweden" versus the "Military Sweden" that, according to Schlesinger, was "planning to get the USA involved as soon as possible".[12]

In 2008, Tunander was the subject of some controversy in Norway after publicly questioning the U.S. government inquiry on the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that al-Qaeda may not have been ultimately responsible and citing claims that the World Trade Center had been brought down by explosions.[13] He later claimed that Anders Behring Breivik was possibly an Israeli agent.[14]

The submarine PSYOPs

In the 1980s, a series of suspected foreign incursions in Swedish territorial waters triggered repeated military submarine hunts off Sweden's coast. The submarine hunts, as well as the spectacular stranding of Soviet submarine S-363 outside Sweden's main naval base in 1981, drew considerable attention and became fodder for domestic political controversy. Following a government investigation in 1983, the Swedish government sent a diplomatic protest note to the Soviet Union, accusing it of responsibility for repeated violations of Sweden's territorial integrity. Moscow denied having committed any intentional incursions while dismissing the S-363 incident as an accidental error of navigation.[15]

As time passed, some of the Swedish military's observations were contradicted by new evidence, undermining some of the arguments against the Soviet Union. There followed a debate about the extent of Soviet involvement, and new investigations were launched. Tunander now emerged as a particularly prominent proponent of the idea that many or all of the incursions had in fact been staged by NATO under CIA oversight and with the complicity of Swedish government officials, to be falsely blamed on the Soviet Union.

In 2001, Tunander was enlisted as a civilian expert to contribute to a new government inquiry led by Rolf Ekéus. In the investigation's official report, Ekéus concluded that foreign submarines had in fact violated Swedish waters in the 1980s, up until approximately 1992. In contrast with the 1983 investigation that had blamed the Soviet Union, however, he stated that there existed "no solid evidence that allows any conclusions to be made about the nationality of the violating submarines."[16] Even so, Ekéus noted that he "does not support the theories proposed by Tunander."[17]

Tunander has remained involved with the submarine debate. He wrote a Swedish book Hårsfjärden (2001), articles for the Swedish Journal of War Sciences, the Zürich-based Parallel History Project,[18] and an English volume for the Frank Cass Naval History Series: The Secret War against Sweden: US and British Submarine Deception in the 1980s (2004).

In these works, Tunander suggested that Soviet submarines might very well have entered Swedish waters, but the more visible operations were most likely PSYOPs decided by a U.S. "deception operation committee" chaired by CIA Director William Casey, and some of them were run by a CIA-Navy liaison office, National Underwater Reconnaissance Office, headed by Secretary of Navy John Lehman.[19]

A Danish Government Inquiry on the Cold War (2005)[20] and the Finnish Cold War History (2006)[21] used Tunander's works, which provoked a debate. The author of the Danish inquiry and the authors of the Finnish and Norwegian Cold War histories wrote forewords to Tunander's volume Spelet under ytan (The Game beneath the Surface) for a Swedish Cold War history project (2007).

A French-German TV-documentary by Arte directed by Dirk Pohlmann was largely based on Tunander's work.link to documentary with English subtitles

Tunander's arguments have drawn strong pushback from many of the government and military officials. Sweden's former chief of defense and former chief of staff wrote articles rejecting Tunander's claims.[22] Former Chief of Defence General Bengt Gustafsson published a book in 2010, which criticised Tunander's views as conspiracy theory.[23]

Tunander was, however, supported by Mattias Mossberg, a former ambassador who had been secretary to the Ekéus investigation. Tunander also received support from former Finnish President Mauno Koivisto, who called the operations "provocations" and recalled Soviet leader Yuri Andropov telling him that the Swedes should sink every intruding submarine, so they could see themselves what turned up.[24]

Books in English

Books in Swedish and Norwegian

  • Den Svarta Duvan – Essäer om makt, teknik och historia [The Black Dove – Essays on Power, Technology and History] (Lund: Symposion, 1985). ISBN 91-85040-01-0.
  • På Autobahn mot sekelskiftet [On Autobahn towards the Turn of the Century] (Lund: Symposion, 1985). ISBN 91-7868-016-6.
  • Norden och USAs maritima strategi – En studie av Nordens förändrade strategiska läge [The Nordic Countries and the US Maritime Strategy – A Study of the Changed Strategic Position of the Nordic Area]. 'Försvarets forskningsanstalt [Swedish National Defence Research Institute], Stockholm: FOA Rapport C 10295-1.4, 1987. Template:ISSN.
  • Murar – Essäer om makt, identitet och territorialitet [Walls – Essays on Power, Identity and Territoriality] (Ålborg: Nordic Summer University, 1995). ISBN 87-87564-72-6; ISBN 82-7198-025-4; ISBN 91-88484-10-6; ISBN 9979-837-10-1.
  • Europa och Muren – Om ‘den andre', gränslandet och historiens återkomst i 90-talets Europa [Europe and the Wall – On ‘the Other', the Borderland and the Return of History in Europe of the 1990s], ed. (Ålborg: Nordic Summer University, 1995). ISBN 87-87564-69-6; ISBN 9979 -837-07-1; ISBN 82-7198-023-8; ISBN 91-88484-08-4.
  • Hårsfjärden – Det hemliga ubåtskriget mot Sverige [Hårsfjärden – The Secret Submarine War against Sweden] (Stockholm: Norstedts Förlag, 2001). ISBN 91-1-301038-7.
  • Spelet under ytan – Teknisk bevisning i nationalitesfrågan för ubåtsoperationen mot Sverige 1982, published by the Swedish research program: 'Sverige under kalla kriget' [Sweden during the Cold War], no. 16 (Gothenburg Univ. & Stockholm Univ., 2007). Template:ISSN (A revised edition was published on the PRIO website in 2009). http://file.prio.no/files/projects/Spelet%20under%20ytan/Spelet-under-ytan.pdf.
  • Libyenkrigets geopolitik - Humanitär intervention eller kolonialkrig? [The geopolitics of the Libyan war - Humanitarian intervention or colonial warfare?] (Lund: Celanders Förlag, 2012). ISBN 978-91-87393-00-6.
  • Libyakrigen - Bruken av retorikk og bedrag for å ødelegge en stat [The Libya War - The Use of Rhetoric and Deception to Destroy a State] (Oslo Sirkel Forlag, 2018). ISBN 978-82-93534-14-3.


Documents by Ola Tunander

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Document:Democratic State v Deep Stateessay1 January 2008Deep politics
Deep state
An excellent introduction to deep politics. By clarifying the real role of the Secret Intelligence Services and the policy agenda they under firm control in most Western 'Democracies' (especially the UKUSA nations), it demonstrates the irrelevance of the party-political masquerade.
Document:The use of terrorism to construct world orderpaper10 September 2004Deep politics
Operation Gladio
Strategy of tension
War on Terror/Purposes
File:The Use of Terrorism to Construct World Order.pdfpaper9 September 2004Deep politics
War on Terror/Purposes
A Paper presented at the Fifth Pan-European International Relations Conference (Panel 28 Geopolitics) Netherlands Congress Centre, The Hague.


Quotes by Ola Tunander

PRIO“Researchers who question the legitimacy of US wars seem to experience being ousted from their positions in research and media institutions.”6 March 2021
James R. Schlesinger“[Former United States Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger] said 'The [Swedish] Military was planning for us to come as soon as possible'. He obviously did not speak about all Swedish politicians or all Swedish military officers, but rather about a fundamental divide between a few relevant political leaders with the ambition of keeping Swedish neutrality, and some senior military officers that were directly linked up to the U.S. agencies, officers that identified themselves with the United States and with U.S. military priorities: They planned for the U.S. military forces to come to Sweden 'as soon as possible'”1993
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  1. Staff page at PRIO
  2. O. Tunander, Cold Water Politics: The Maritime Strategy and Geopolitics of the Northern Front (London: Sage, 1989); ‘Four Scenarios for the Norwegian Sea', in Kari Möttölä, ed., The Arctic Challenge – Nordic and Canadian Approaches to Security and Cooperation in an Emerging International Region (Boulder: Westview Press, 1988); "Naval Hierarchies – European ‘Neutralism' and Regional Restraint at Sea", in Sverre Lodgaard, ed., Naval Forces – Arms Control and Confidence-Building (London: Sage, 1990).
  3. O.S. Stokke and O. Tunander eds., The Barents Region: Regional Cooperation in Arctic Europe (London: Sage, 1994); O. Tunander, "Geopolitics of the North, Geopolitik of the Weak – A Post-Cold War Return to Rudolf Kjellén", Cooperation & Conflict, vol. 43, no. 2, June, 2008.
  4. O. Tunander, "Bush's Brave New World: A New World Order - A New Military Strategy", Bulletin of Peace Proposals (later Security Dialogue), vol. 22, no. 4, 1991
  5. https://web.archive.org/web/20050312142345/http://odin.dep.no/odin/engelsk/norway/foreign/032005-990418/dok-bn.html
  6. Tunander, "Nordic Cooperation", Odin, (Information from the Government and Ministries, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo 1999); Tunander, "Norway, Sweden and Nordic Cooperation" in Lassi Heininen and Gunnar Lassinantti, eds, The European North – Hard, Soft and Civic Security (Stockholm: The Olof Palme International Center / Arctic Centre, University of Lapland 1999), pp. 39-48; Tunander, "Norway's Post-Cold War Security – Between Friend and Foe, or between Cosmos and Chaos", pp. 48-63 in Anders Orrenius & Lars Truedsson, Visions of European Security Policy – Focal Point Sweden and Northern Europe (Stockholm: The Olof Palme International Center 1996).
  7. Tunander, O. "Democratic State vs. Deep State – Approaching the Dual State of the West", in Eric Wilson, ed., Government of the Shadows: Parapolitics and Criminal Sovereignty, (London: Pluto Press, 2009).
  8. Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 911: Wealth Empire and the Future of America (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007).
  9. Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics in the Twentieth Century, Vol. 1: The Decline of Democratic Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1962).
  10. Ole Wæver, "Securitization and Desecuritization", in On Security, ed. R.D. Lipschutz (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995); Ole Wæver, "European Security Identities 2000", in Burgess and Tunander, 2000.
  11. Scott, 2007; Peter Dale Scott, The American Deep State (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015); Ryan Gingeras, "How the Deep State Came to America: A History", War on the Rocks, 4 February 2019; Monmouth University Poll, National: Public Troubled by "Deep State", 19 March 2018.
  12. Tunander, "The Uneasy Imbrication of Nation-State and NATO: The Case of Sweden", Cooperation & Conflict, vol. 34, no. 2, June, 1999.; see also Tunander "The Informal NATO or NATO als Gemeinschaft – The Case of Sweden", in Burgess and Tunander, European Security Identities – Contested Understandings of the EU and NATO.
  13. https://www.aftenbladet.no/lokalt/i/kKjk9/Tror-ikke-pa-offisiell-119-forklaring
  14. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4162450,00.html
  15. https://www.svd.se/sovjet-litade-inte-pa-var-neutralitet
  16. SOU 2001:85. Perspektiv på ubåtsfrågan – Hanteringen av ubåtsfrågan politiskt och militärt. (Stockholm: Statens Offentliga Utredningar, Försvarsdepartementet, 2001, pp. 368-369).
  17. "Ola Tunander […] har som expert i utredningen haft vänligheten att dela med sig av eget forskningsmaterial i ubåtsfrågan. Jag biträder dock inte de teorier som Tunander framfört utifrån detta material." – SOU 2001:85. Perspektiv på ubåtsfrågan – Hanteringen av ubåtsfrågan politiskt och militärt. (Stockholm: Statens Offentliga Utredningar, Försvarsdepartementet, 2001, p. 32).
  18. https://web.archive.org/web/20091114152447/http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/publications/areastudies/subinc.cfm
  19. Spelet under ytan [The Game beneath the Surface] (Revised edition 2009), pp. 388-392. http://file.prio.no/files/projects/Spelet%20under%20ytan/Spelet-under-ytan.pdf; see also Peter Huchthausen and Alexandre Sheldon-Duplaix, Hide and Seek: The Untold Story of Cold War Espionage at Sea (New Jersey: John Wiley, 2009), p. 285.
  20. Danmark under den kolde krig (Copenhagen: DIIS, 2005). http://www.minibib.dk/F?func=find-b&P_CON_LNG=ENG&DOC_LNG_00=ALL&local_base=dcism&find_code=SYS&request=400883
  21. Pekka Visuri, Suomi kylmässä Sodassa (Helsinki: Otava, 2006).
  22. Herman Fältström red. Ubåtsoperationer och kränkningar under det kalla kriget, Försvaret och det kalla kriget (FOKK), nr 15; see debate between Bengt Gustafsson and Tunander in Historisk tidskrift [Swedish History Journal] 2008-2010 and in Forum Navale (Swedish Journal of Naval History), 2009-2010.
  23. Bengt Gustafsson, Sanningen om ubåtsfrågan (The Truth about the Submarines) (Stockholm: Santérus, 2010).
  24. Mauno Koivisto, "Ubåtshysterin orsakade mig plåga", Svenska Dagbladet, 3 September 2008..
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