It is often assumed that due to its remote location, Finland is immune to global terrorism and security threats that other Western countries face. According to the annual report by the Finnish Security Intelligence Service, SUPO, the presence of security threats on Finnish soil have seen an increase. SUPO’s report states that the number and gravity of terrorist attacks and plots in the Nordic countries are rising.
The report also reveals SUPO’s concern that several countries are trying to acquire materials from Finland in order to produce nuclear materials.
Commenting on SUPO’s report, Mika Aaltola, program director at The Finnish Institute of International Affairs says that SUPO’s unspecified target of suspicion is clearly Iran: “They have Finnish-made devices and components that can be converted to other use.” According to Aaltola, countries such as Iran are trying to import materials and components that serve several functions thus making SUPO’s job increasingly challenging.
The report makes a few interesting points and even presents thinly veiled criticism of the Finnish legal system. According to the 11-page report, “during the traditional counterintelligence work, and proliferation surveillance, it became apparent that there has been an increase in cases in which the intelligence agencies of foreign governments seek to control their citizens who are living permanently in Finland.” The report then states that “this so-called refugee espionage is still not criminalized in Finland, unlike in other Nordic countries and in much of Western Europe.”
It is common that expatriate activities abroad lead to situations where the relatives and supporters of dissidents and expats are imprisoned and tortured. In other words, Finland is fertile ground for rogue states that want to control their citizens.