Tag Archives: Sweden

The News Out Of Stockholm

The Jawa Report:

Forbes:

STOCKHOLM — Two explosions shook central Stockholm on Saturday, killing one person and injuring two, rescue officials said.Police spokeswoman Petra Sjolander said a car exploded near Drottninggatan, a busy shopping street in the center of the city. Shortly afterward, a second explosion was heard higher up on the same street, and a man was found injured on the ground. He was later pronounced dead.

…”I saw some people crying, perhaps from the chock,” he said. “There was a man lying on the ground with blood coming out in the area of his belly, and with his personal belongings scattered around him.”

Gabiro said the blast was “quite loud” and he saw smoke coming from the area where the man was lying.

Few details except one familiar item. The vehicle was stuffed with gas canisters, which I take as propane cylinders and gasoline. Gee I wonder if anyone has tried that before?And it appears they wanted to blow up Christmas, excuse me, Cross Worshiping Shoppers.

Must have been those pesky Lutherans protesting the commercialization of Christmas?

Michelle Malkin:

They’re at it again. Cartoon jihadists hit Stockholm yesterday in a suicide bombing. Two innocent bystanders were injured; the jihadist died of stomach wounds. All for the pretextual crime of “insulting” Islam.

Lisa Lundquist at The Long War Journal:

Swedish police confirmed that the owner of the car used in the bombing has been identified as Taimour Abdulwahab, born Dec. 12, 1981; today would be his 29th birthday, according to Swedish journalist Per Gudmundson. The car was purchased as late as November of this year.

There was an R.I.P. page on Facebook for Abdulwahab, created earlier today, noting he “died an heros dead in Stockholm” on Dec. 11. Abdulwahab’s own Facebook page, which appeared under the nom de guerre “Taimour Al-Abdaly,” is replete with references to militant Islam and videos from Iraq and Chechnya, and listed “favorites” include “Islamic Caliphate State” and Sheikh Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi, the radical Jordanian cleric and mentor of Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Within the past few hours, both Facebook pages have been taken down.

One of the links on Abdulwahab’s Facebook page shows photos of him in what appears to be Jordan.

The warning emailed to Swedish authorities shortly before the bombing yesterday contained a request for forgiveness from the plotter’s family for deluding them about a recent trip to the Middle East; the trip was made for terrorist training purposes.

“I never went to the Middle East to work or earn money. I went there for Jihad,” he stated.

Jim Hoft at The Gateway Pundit:

Suspected Swedish bomber Taimour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly used the Muslim dating site Muslima.com in his search for a second wife. (Daily Mail) The Swedish suicide bomber was a trained jihadist who was recently looking for a second wife.
He was a father of two young children.

Legal Insurrection

Aaron Goldstein at The American Spectator:

In an interview with the BBC, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said he is “not sure” if e-mail threats sent minutes before two bombs exploded in downtown Stockholm are connected to yesterday’s bombing which killed the attacker and injured two civilians.

The threat stated in part, “Our actions will speak for themselves, as long as you do not stop your stupid war against Islam.”

While Prime Minister Reinfeldt (the leader of Sweden’s ostensibly conservative Moderate Party) might not be sure if the e-mail threat and subsequent bombings are connected, an Islamist website is very sure.  The website, Shumukh al-Islam, identified the bomber as Taimour Abdulwahib Al-Abdaly.  The jihadist forum referred to Al-Abdaly as “our brother” and indicated that Al-Abdaly had “carried out the martyrdom operation in Stockholm.”

The Daily Mail reports that Al-Abdaly was born in Iraq, had moved to Sweden nearly twenty years ago and had attended university in England.  The British daily also indicated that Al-Abdaly had a history of expressing jihadist sympathies posting videos concerning the War in Iraq, Chechnya and Guantanamo Bay.

mistermix:

How in the hell do you detonate a huge car bomb, and a suicide bomb, in the middle of a busy shopping area a couple of weeks before Christmas without killing anyone but yourself? I’m sure we’ll learn every little detail about the person who did this, and maybe there are more attacks to follow, but at the moment this looks like more confirmation of DougJ’s thesis that terrorism is for losers.

James Joyner:

We’ve been lucky in two respects.  First, most of the terrorist attacks in the West since the 9/11 attacks — now more than nine years ago — have been spectacularly inept.  Second, we’ve thus far been spared by the classical suicide bombers of the type that have plagued Israel for something like a quarter century.

Given that the security measures needed to defend against the latter are so onerous that they’re intolerable in a free society — indeed, a society which would tolerate them for more than the occasional high value target could not reasonably be described as “free” — it’s only a matter of time.

Bruce McQuain at Q and O:

As is obvious, people are out to kill Swedes and they don’t much care who it is that’s unlucky enough to be around the next bombing attempt (of course, the probability of being killed in a terror attack in the West is probably akin to the probability of being struck by lightning as it is – but it still scares people excessively.).

So … they can roll over, give up their liberty and freedom and someday see their children grow up in an oppressive culture that doesn’t value anything the Swedes value today.   Or Sweden can take a deep breath, hitch up its courage, declare real war on radical Islam and the killers it creates and sweep them from their country.  By doing so they can also serve notice that the dominant culture – Swedish culture – will remain as such and that those who’ve immigrated from other lands and other cultures can adapt to that culture or leave.  Here’s a basic truth that needs to be heeded: You cannot be tolerant with the intolerant.

When those who would kill you declare war on you as these killers have, you have two choices – fight the war or surrender.  You can’t decide not to participate.  It doesn’t work that way.  Hopefully Sweden will understand that and choose the former over the latter.

Moe Lane

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God Spelled Backwards Is Dog

Michael C. Moynihan at Reason:

Lars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist who drew Mohammed as a dog, was recently told that a scheduled lecture on free speech, to be held at Jönköping Högskolan, would be canceled due to “security concerns.” This, of course, is a common evasion, intended to protect the brittle sensibilities of Muslim students while supposedly standing four square behind the right of free speech.

Alas, the administrators in Jönköping had a point. During a lecture in Uppsala today Vilks was attacked by a pack of feral fundamentalists, one of whom managed to headbutt the artist and break his glasses. Police intervened and waged a short battle with the religious nutters who can be heard in the video below, captured by the newspaper UNT, shouting Allahu Akbar! The AP has a quick report, explaining that “Uppsala University spokeswoman Pernilla Bjork said Vilks was showing a provocative film with sexual content to the crowd when the attacker ran up and hit him in the face with his fists.”

Nathan Hardan at NRO:

Here is stunning video footage of Tuesday’s attack on Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, during a lecture at the University of Uppsala. Listen to the students shouting “Allahu Akbar” while Vilks is beaten.

These are the desperate acts of an extremeist movement that is utterly bereft of moral courage, and awash in its own intellectual insecurity. Look at these Western-educatedstudents in their designer clothes, calling down curses on a man who represents the freedom they hate so much, and yet have benefited so much from

Ace Of Spades:

A few points. Vilks’ presentation was, in fact, provocative, as it deliberately juxtaposed pictures of Mohammad (?) and praying Muslims with gay fetish shots.

But, as everyone on the receiving end of artistic provocations for thirty years can tell you — we’re supposed to understand that ideas may incite, and in fact that is the very point of them, and that our right to not be offended doesn’t trump anyone else’s right to give offense.

That lesson was definitely not taught here, as the Violently Aggrieved won the battlefield they turned this university into only on this day, but on future days as well — the university has decided to put an end to this madness, by which they mean they won’t invite Lars Vilks back for any further lectures.

The lesson taught here is, once again, that if Muslims just get violent and criminal, they get exactly what they want.

I’m just curious – I see the police making few arrests here.

If there had been another crowd here — a fired-up anti-jihad crowd, let’s say, which intervened with the jihadists went wild, and started doing their own face-breaking — how many decades of incarceration do you think they’d currently be facing?

Should the law not be changed to reflect the actual law — that Muslims are in fact permitted to create disturbances of the peace and commit assault? Because if you trick non-Muslim citizens into thinking these things are crimes, and then they intervene, believing themselves to be stopping crimes in progress… then you’re locking them up without fair warning, aren’t you?

Eh. They’ve been warned, I guess. Everyone knows what the real law is.

Allah Pundit:

Everything about this is an utter, unmitigated disgrace — the attack on Vilks, the excruciating passivity of most of the crowd, the sheer thuggery of these shrieking, lunatic, barbarian bastards, and of course the killer moment at around 8:45 when they win. Do note, too, how the Aggrieved alternate between vicious threats and civil rights, warning the cops against brutality and reminding them that they pay taxes too. That’s a familiar pattern nine years after 9/11. They’d have torn Vilks apart with their bare hands if they could have but they’re all about proper procedure, you see.

Hamilton Nolan at Gawker:

The fact that so many American media and academic institutions have caved into the imagined fear of such religious fascists is shameful. If the free societies of the world can’t stand up for a person’s right to draw a fucking cartoon without becoming the victim of a multinational assassination plot, well, we lose. And if people’s faith in their god is not strong enough to allow them to laugh off and dismiss an offensive little drawing, they lose. So let’s all get along, or we all lose

Andrew Stuttaford at Secular Right:

The disruption was thuggish, and the physical attack on the cartoonist was revolting, but the thing that most struck me about the video footage was the level of  hysteria displayed by some of the protestors, a hysteria made all the more disturbing by the fact that it was not the reaction to some sudden, unexpected shock (the protestors can have seen little at the lecture of a nature that they had not already expected) but was instead a manifestation of a deeper, longer-lasting rage that has long since lost any connection it may ever once have had with rationality.

Michelle Malkin

The Daily Caller:

The home of cartoonist Lars Vilks, infamous in the Muslim community for depicting the prophet Mohammad as a dog, was attacked by suspected arsonists late Friday evening, multiple sources confirm. The apparent plot to set fire to Vilks’ home — which comes just four days after a student attacked him at Uppsala University as he showed a film about Islam – was not successful.

Vilks was not at home at the time, according to the Washington Post, and alert onlookers may have helped put a stop to the home invasion:

It was the latest in a week of attacks on the 53-year-old cartoonist, who was assaulted Tuesday by a man while he lectured at a university and saw his Web site apparently attacked by hacker on Wednesday.

Police were alerted just before noon Saturday, as people passing by the artist’s house noted that several windows had been smashed. When officers arrived, they discovered plastic bottles filled with gasoline and fire damage on the surface of the building. Attackers are also suspected of having tried setting the inside of house on fire, but the flames are thought to have fizzled out.

Vilks has long said he would be ready for such an attack:

Vilks has faced numerous death threats over the controversial cartoon, but said in March he has built his own defense system, including a “homemade” safe room and a barbed-wire sculpture that could electrocute potential intruders.

He said he also has an ax “to chop down” anyone trying to climb through the windows of his home in southern Sweden.

“If something happens, I know exactly what to do,” Vilks told The Associated Press in an interview in Stockholm.

Vilks also owns a guard dog named Mohammad.

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I Hold The Swedish Chief In Very High Regard, Despite His Low Pay As An Auxiliary Muppet

Noam Scheiber and Megan McArdle on Bloggingheads, in a segment entitled “Megan: Obamacare will cause doctors to quit medicine”

Scheiber at TNR with the follow-up post:

(Short version: Megan thinks our brave new health reformed world will cause lots of people to pass on being doctors in favor of becoming lawyers and middle managers. I think doctors will enjoy enough social prestige that we won’t have trouble filling hospitals even if we pay them slightly less. We ended up in a bit of a stalemate over the empirical question of how much declining doctor pay has, in the past, affected people’s desire to go to med-school. I’m going to try to dig up some evidence to shed light on the question. Anyone with a study to point me to should feel free to point away in comments.)

In Scheiber’s next post, he links to a Matt Yglesias post. Here’s Yglesias:

An interesting fact about Sweden is that an extremely high proportion of its population is foreign born. It’s not the highest in the world—Canada and Australia take the crown—but the foreign-born are a larger proportion of the population than in the United States

A large number of those immigrants are from other European countries, but apparently Sweden has one of the world’s largest Assyrian populations.

Why is this relevent? Scheiber:

I argued in response that the ability to bathe doctors in social prestige isn’t exactly a fixed feature of one’s national character–it’s not that Americans are genetically incapable of it, or that Europeans naturally excel at it. If doctors made slightly less money, but the system were seen as better for patients overall, the social prestige of doctoring might rise a bit and compensate them for the loss of income.

At this point, Megan came back with:

“We don’t have a unified culture. There’s no–Sweden can talk about having a Swedish culture, and to some extent a Swedish status hierarchy and Swedish values. That’s just not true of America. Everyone’s participating in about 97 different subcultures. So you can invent your own status hierarchy, but you can’t get everyone to buy into the idea that we should pay our doctors $60,000 a year and then all love them a lot because they’re doctors.”

I guess Megan’s point is that Sweden has a more discernible status hierarchy because it’s a much more homogeneous country. And it sorta sounds plausible (though I still think most people are inclined to respect doctors regardless of whether or not they belong to the same subculture–all the more so if they’re satisfied with their health care).

Matthew Yglesias enters the fray:

But you don’t need to look to Sweden to look for an example of a group of people who are esteemed out of proportion to the financial rewards they receive—just look at the officer corps of the American military. There’s a reason why the perception that Obama is at odds with General McChrystal could be politically damaging, there’s a reason why General Petraeus’ famous congressional testimony was a big deal politically, and there’s a reason why the White House was eager to release the photo above after having gotten hit for Obama not being directly engaged with McChrystal. The American military has a lot of prestige in the United States and so do military officers, all without being lavishly paid.

And McArdle responds to all:

I could be wrong–I’m certainly no expert on Sweden–but my understanding is that Sweden has a very high immigration rate because of its extraordinarily generous asylum policy.  However, these immigrants are not particularly well assimilated, and are not really the people who become doctors in Sweden.  Indeed, the non-Western immigrants to whom Matt refers seem to have a horrifically high unemployment rate. Second generation immigrants, particularly those who are not from Northern Europe, appear to have severe lagging income gaps with ethnic Swedes.

[…]

My impression is that the ethnic Nordics who have a higher probability of finding jobs as skilled professionals do in fact think of themselves as participating in a common Swedish culture in a way that is just not comprehensible in the United States.  They talk about being Swedish in the way that an individual American might talk about being Jewish, or a Harvard grad.

In America, it’s not just that we have a high percentage of immigrants right now; it’s that all the previous generations of immigrants also created their own subcultures, as did the regional divides between north/south/west, the endlessly multiplying religious divides, and so forth.  It’s generally harder to substitute status for income outside of relatively closed and homogenous cultures, which is why small towns rely on volunteer firemen, and cities don’t.

Matt Yglesias, who totally mangled what I said to interpret it as saying that income confers status on a profession–possibly true, but not what I argued–offers the Officer’s Corps as an example of skilled profession that isn’t particularly highly paid.

I’m not sure that it’s an accident that the career military is so heavily drawn from hereditary military families, and white southerners, both of which place extraordinarily high status on joining the military.  It’s also true that officers have quite a lot of financial opportunities after they leave the military, but of course a lot of them are in it for honor rather than money.  The thing is, being a high-ranking officer is so weird in so many ways that I’m not sure you can generalize it to any other profession–at least not unless you’re willing to give successful doctors a few aides de camp, subsidized housing, and maybe a private plane.

McArdle quotes this Michael C. Moynihan Reason piece:

First, Geier, debunker of myths about Sweden and Swedish socialism, surely knows that the plurality of the foreign-born in Sweden are Finns and Finlandsvensk-Swedish-speaking Finns-who are very much a part of the Nordic welfare tradition. This will soon change, with the influx of asylum-seekers from the Middle East, and we’ll soon see how much stress this puts on the “Swedish model.” That said, and as Geier seems to concede but not comprehend, the remaining 87 percent are native-born Swedes with, for the most part, a common cultural, religious/irreligious, social, and political heritage. This is, obviously, not the case with native-born Americans, a patchwork of ethnicities and religious affiliations. (Incidentally, I am an American-born permanent resident of Sweden.)

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Arrr Matey! Set Up Me WiFi And Set Sail For Ye Northern Star

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Sweden’s Pirate Party won a seat in the EU Parliament earlier this month. The Pirate Party is concerned with patent and intellectual property law on the internet.

Mats Lewan at Cnet

The Pirate Party is focused on three main goals: “to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens’ rights to privacy are respected.”

The party was founded in 2006, and that year gained only 0.63 percent of the votes in Swedish parliamentary elections. But since then it has attracted members during the debate on several controversial laws that authorize monitoring of electronic communications and that make it easier to police file sharing on the Internet.

It is now Sweden’s third biggest party by membership. Its ranks swelled when four men were sentenced to prison in the high-profile Pirate Bay case in April. People use Web sites like The Pirate Bay to transfer movies and music, a practice that has drawn the ire–and the lawyers–of Hollywood studios and the recording industry.

The Pirate Party is not formally connected with The Pirate Bay, but has officially expressed support for the Web site.

Gerald Magliocca

While I won’t list the whole platform (it varies from country to country), the Pirate Party clearly supports a radical reduction in intellectual property rights.  The U.S. version calls for the repeal of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the end of digital rights management, support for file sharing, and a return to a 14 year term for copyrights as provided in the 1790 Copyright Act.

Most of these goals are nonstarters, but there is one idea in their platform that may gain traction. The Party argues that “[p]atents which fail to be developed or have significant progress in any four-year term should be unenforceable.”  At a patent law conference that I just attended, there was a lot of discussion about how the PTO and the courts should handle patents that are not commercialized.  In recent years, these patents have (generally) been fully enforced.  The problem with that, of course, is that these are often the patents that lead to nuisance litigation (patent trolls) and provide less value to society than ones that are actually developed or licensed in good faith.

Hilzoy

John Quiggin

Belatedly, the IP lobby is waking up. Robert Wexler, the Co-Chair of the US Congressional Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention Caucus has issued a call to arms. Wexler makes the statement, usual in cases like this, that his lobby needs to a better job in communicating the message. But, also as usual in cases like this, the real problem is the message itself, exemplified by his reported view that ‘Government and private sector efforts to make IP theft taboo have fallen short’.

The problem here is that no one outside the IP lobby, not even those who strongly support copyright and patents, believes that these things are property that can be stolen. There is, I think, quite a bit of public sympathy for the view that the creative workers deserve a fair return for their efforts, and that social institutions should help to ensure that they receive it. There is essentially none for the inane suggestion that copying a video is similar to stealing a car.

I suspect that IP is doomed, given the steadily increasing ease of copying, the spread of free or open-source material and the reaction against the heavy-handed tactics used so far. But if the IP lobby wants to try to save something from the wreck, they would be well advised to put forward more moderate claims, supported by more credible arguments. Trying to massage the existing message won’t cut it.

Bloggingheads with Henry Farrell and Judah Grunstein

Bruce Byfield has an interview with the Pirate Party leader.

Harry Farrell:

So – if the Pirate’s Party are going to get anything done, they are going to have to get institutionalized into the system, at least to some extent, facing the usual tradeoffs that wild-eyed radicals face when they actually win electedseats. Since my personal stance on these issues is somewhere in the wide spacebetween the Pirate Party’s stated position and the so-called mainstream, I think that a bit of institutionalization would be a very good thing (others, with different positions may vary). It would be nice to see some voices in elected politics expressing opinions that diverge from the copyright-maximalist ones – even when (as here) reformists are still seriously outgunned, they can still have significant consequences by showing up and shouting loudly when bad things seem to be afoot.

UPDATE: Christoper Caldwell in TWS

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