An Open Letter to the
President of Estonia Toomas H. Ilves

Regarding the Sinking of Estonia

 
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DSM 1/2007

November 25, 2006
 
                                                                   
 
Dear President Ilves,
 
 
On the occasion of your meetings with the President of the United States of America
George W. Bush and the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, we would like to bring
to your attention our concerns regarding the sinking of Estonia.
                     

In your speeches, you have often said that for Estonia every person is
important.  Does that include the thousands of human lives that were carried on
M/S Estonia and used as "human shields" for criminal gangs involved in transporting
secret shipments of Soviet military technology and weaponry to the West?[1]
                     
Have you ever wondered how the victims' relatives feel when their
governments obstruct the fair investigation into the sinking of Estonia, which took
the lives of some 1000 people, including some who were being smuggled in a closed
trailer on a car deck?[2]
                     
Those who were in power in 1994 are obviously hostile to any meaningful
investigation into the sinking. We are convinced that the real reasons behind the
Estonia catastrophe have been hidden from us.
                     
We want to remind you that as a president of Estonia, you have an obligation
to be support the investigation of what really happened to Estonia.  You should
actively assist the pursuit of the truth of this catastrophe by your fellow Estonians.
                     
There are at least three files about the sinking of Estonia in the archives of
the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States of America.[3]
"The documents are classified because their disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause
serious damage to the national security."
[4]
 
You should take advantage of the meeting with President Bush and request that these
documents be given to the government of Estonia.  How can we ever know the full
truth of what happened if such secret files exist?

 
There are secret documents in Swedish government archives that are classified for
several generations.  In order to find the truth of the sinking and determine
accountability all secret documents need to be made public so the cover-up will be
brought to an end.  This is the least we can do to honor our relatives
and countrymen who died at sea on September 28, 1994.
                     
Margus Leivo, chairman of the parliamentary committee investigating the export of military
equipment from Estonia, says:
 
"New evidence is tabled, which was initially denied or ridiculed. Thus, opinion is formed that
investigators were not aware of all the facts gathered and therefore could not draw competent
conclusions. There is a reason to believe that many facts are still hidden from us and are
being concealed even to date.”
[5]
 
For some absurd reason, Estonian investigators were never allowed to see or
investigate the complete evidence of the sinking of a ship that sailed under the
Estonian flag.  Sweden dominated the investigation. Given your connections and
experience, you could do a lot to assert Estonia's proper and equal role in the
international community. 
                     
We are encouraged by what you said in your inaugural speech on October 9, 2006, that
Estonia should be treated as an equal and that the same rules would apply to us as we
apply them to others.

                     
Mr. President, you should know that we are not a quiet group of medicated mourners. 
We have filed a suit, which has been accepted, in the European Court of Human Rights
(ECHR) in Strasbourg on 14 August 2006.  Over 80 families have joined the lawsuit thus far.
                     
The organizations of Estonian and Swedish relatives have demanded that the diving
ban to the Estonia wreck be suspended.  A joint letter was sent out on 8 May 2006
to the signatories of the treaty to suspend all measures prohibiting inspection of the
wreck and/or securing new evidence.[6]  
                     
We support honest and traditional methods to investigate the Estonia shipwreck, such
as divingto the wreck and lifting it to the surface.[7]
                     
The treaty declaring the wreck to be a gravesite has been the main obstacle preventing
the recovery of the remains of our loved ones, something which is customary in the
civilized world.
                     
Drew Wilson, author of the recent book, The Hole:  Another look at the sinking of the
Estonia ferry on September 28, 1994, says:
 
"Throughout history, states have organized dangerous and sometimes hopeless attempts
to recover victims regardless of cost, time, technical limitations or individual objections.

                     
From sunken ships, crashed airlines and space shuttles, from beneath fallen rock and
collapsed skyscrapers, authorities in all countries reflexively launch efforts to retrieve
human remains after a civil catastrophe. Governments do not squabble and debate
the practice, which seems to transcend all political, economic and religious
differences around the globe. Recovery work and forensic identification are more of a
moral imperative than legal procedure. They simply get done because it is right."

 
As Wilson says, our moral values demand that we recover the bodies of our lost citizens
because it is the right thing to do. 
                     
Lennart Berglund, chairman of SEA, has been fighting to recover the bodies. 
Berglund said about the wreck:

"It's a death trap, not a grave. It can never be a grave. They were killed inside the ship." [8]
  
Spiritually a person needs to see the remains of the loved one to understand the loss
and obtain closure.  As a psychologist, you should understand the relatives' feeling that
they have been forced to abandon their loved ones.

The late Estonian president Lennart Meri  justified the decision to leave the bodies in the
wreck,saying: 

”The sea from time to time needs sacrifices. This is very deeply rooted in our culture."

We do not agree with Meri's "old tradition" that our loved ones should remain on
the bottom of the sea. 
                     
"Western structures do not yield to superstitions in tragic circumstances",
 Wilson says. 
"Tribal beliefs that equate the sea with a grave do not form the basis of institutional
decision making.  In civilized countries, governments have the compulsory duty to exploit
technology and resources in the service of the public to mitigate suffering."
[9]
                     
Ines Uusmann, Sweden's Transport Minister at the time, said that the relatives'
plan to raise funds for a recovery operation was "morally atrocious".  Johan Franson,
director of the Swedish Maritime Administration, repeatedly described how
disgusting the bodies would be as if the recovery were a beauty contest.
 
"I think we should do everything in our power to re-float the ferry", Carl Bildt said as
he left office shortly after the ship went down. [10] Unlike Carl Bildt, Russia's
President Vladimir Putin stuck to his promise and recovered the bodies from the
sunken submarine Kursk.  In the case of Kursk, the bodies had, in addition, been
subjected to an explosion and chemical fire.  Meri's refusal to insist on retrieval and
repatriation of the victims after the Estonia tragedy can only be seen as a great
failure as president. [11]
                     
Documents prove that these important decisions were made by the Swedish
government. The former Swedish ambassador Lars Arne Grundberg provided
Estonian Prime Minister Andres Tarand with a ready made protocol, in Swedish,
of an "Estonian government meeting" that simply needed to be signed. [12]
                     
In reality the "gravesite treaty" is a ruse, a tool used to thwart, limit, and
prevent any independent investigations of the wreck.  A square cannot be drawn
in international waters and declared a forbidden zone by any national government. 
This is what is meant by international waters. [13]
                     
As you travel to the NATO meeting in Riga to discuss freedom and security for
Afghanistan, we would like to bring one issue to your attention.  On the day Estonia
sank, NATO began a 10-day exercise in and near the Baltic Sea with the navies of
10 NATO allies and 10 Partnership for Peace nations, including Sweden, Finland,
Russia, and the Baltic states. At least 14 of the 20 nations involved provided
ships and aircraft for the "Cooperative Venture" exercise, which was a "peacekeeping,
humanitarian and search and rescue operation" exercise.[14]
                     
There has been, however, no discussion of NATO's role in, or lack of response to,
the sinking of Estonia. It is hard to understand why none of the rescue equipment
from 20 nations was deployed when Europe's worst maritime disaster was unfolding
before their eyes.
                     
What kind of a world do we live in when our governments participate in the
cover-up of the deaths of hundreds of their own citizens?  It is our patriotic duty
and moral obligation to find the truth about the sinking of Estonia. We owe this to
our loved ones[15] , to our countrymen, and to mankind.  Justice and safety on
the seas demands it.
 
Mr. President, we hope that you can do something to address our concerns. 
We look forward to opening a dialogue with you.
 
We wish you success and hope to hear from you.
 
Respectfully,
 
H KASKEL, Chairman, Estonia Protsessiühing,
Estonia Litigation Association (ELA)         
220 Kingman Ln., Hoffman Est., IL 60169, USA
 
B CALAMNIUS, Chairman, Arbetsgruppen för utredning av M/S Estonias
förlisning (AgnEF)
The Working  Group for Investigating the MV Estonia Shipwreck
Odd Fellowvägen 29, 127 32 Skärholmen, Sweden
 
Ü VEIDE, Chairman, ML - Estonia - Hukupõhjuste Väljaselgitamise Mittetulundusühing
Association for clearing up the actual reasons of MV Estonia‚s shipwreck (EHVM)
Roosi 14, 80014 Pärnu, Estonia
  
G CLAESSON,  Chairman, Föreningen Anhöriga Estonia i Lindesberg (FAE)
Association for Families of Estonia Victims in Lindesberg
Gullsätra, 718 92 Frövi, Sweden
 
L BERGLUND, Chairman, Stiftelsen Estoniaoffren och Anhöriga (SEA)
The Foundation for the Estonia Victims and their Relatives
Box 925, 781 29 Borlänge, Sweden
____________

[1] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref1
>  Estonia Symposium 2005, Opening Statement of Helje Kaskel, Chairman of ELA
<http://www.elaestonia.org/eng/index.php?module=lingid&link=232 <http://www.elaestonia.org/eng/index.php?module=lingid&amp;link=232>
  
[2] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;
DelDraft=1#_ednref2
>  "The Hole" by Drew Wilson, Diggory Press, Cornwall, UK 2006
<http://www.elaestonia.org/eng/index.php?module=lingid&link=263 <http://www.elaestonia.org/eng/index.php?module=lingid&amp;link=263>
   
[3] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref3
>  The Kurm Report, 10 March 2006
<http://www.elaestonia.org/eng/index.php?module=lingid&link=239 <http://www.elaestonia.org/eng/index.php?module=lingid&amp;link=239>
 
[4] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta
=yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref4
>   The Answer to the FOIA re: classified documents about Estonia
<http://www.elaestonia.org/index.php?module=lingid&link =287 <http://www.elaestonia.org/index.php?
module=lingid&amp;link%20=287

 
[5] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref5
>  Margus Leivo, MP, in support to lift up M/S Estonia
<http://www.ms-estonia.org/main.php?lang=eng
   
[6] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref6
>  The Joint Appeal to Suspend the Gravesite Treaty
<http://estonia.kajen.com/Joint _letter.pdf <http://estonia.kajen.com/Joint%20_letter.pdf>
 
[7] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref7
>  Margus Leivo
 
[8] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref8
>  Lennart Berglund, Chairman of SEA <http://video.google.com
videoplay?docid=22766008541226
40473&q=docid%3D227660085412264 0473&hl=en <http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=22766008541226%2040473&amp;q=docid%
3D227660085412264%200473&amp;hl=en
>
   
[9] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref9
>  Wilson 2006
   
[10] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref10
>  Carl Bildt, press conference in Tallinn 22 November 2006
<http://estonia.kajen.com/Bildt _Tallinn_061122.mp3 <http://estonia.kajen.com/Bildt%20_Tallinn_061122.mp3>
   
[11] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref11
>  Wilson 2006
 
[12] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref12
>  Analysis of Per Björkman, lawyer
http://estonia.kajen.com/ifg /forum2.html <http://estonia.kajen.com/ifg/forum2.html>
http://estonia.kajen.com/ifg /ud2.pdf <http://estonia.kajen.com/ifg%20/ud2.pdf>
   
[13] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref13
>  Wilson 2006
   
[14] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref14
>  NATO Maritime Exercise "Cooperative Venture 94" 
<http://www.elaestonia.org/eng/index.php?module=lingid&link=207  <http://www.elaestonia.org/eng/index.php?module=lingid&amp;link=207>
  
[15] <http://se.f256.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?YY=80111&amp;y5beta=yes&amp;y5beta=
yes&amp;DelDraft=1#_ednref15
>  In Memoriam http://elaestonia.org/sea/index.php

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