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Tag: sweden

In Swedish Farmhouse, A Neo-Nazi Weapons Stockpile -- And Plan To Attack Schools

When Swedish police arrested a 25-year-old man at a farmhouse outside of Gothenburg last November, the only official explanation was that he was arrested for “gross preparation for general destruction.” Now the details of what they found inside the house have been released, and it’s chilling: the man, who was active in the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), had stockpiled homemade bombs, semi-automatic weapons and parts manufactured with a 3D printer, as well as a huge cache of ammunition—all while engaging in online discussions about how to target schools for mass shootings.

The farmhouse arsenal was powerfully reminiscent of the case of Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, who made similar preparations at a rural property over several years prior to his lethal terrorist attack in July 2011 that killed 69 young people at a summer camp and eight people in downtown Oslo when he detonated a truck bomb. Terrorism experts examining the Sweden case say it’s clear evidence that the threat of white-nationalist terrorism continues to spread around the globe.

Contained within the farmhouse near the town of Falköping, as researcher Hugo Kaaman explained, was a weapons stockpile that actually dwarfed Breivik’s, suggesting the intensity of the young man—who has not been publicly identified—in his desire to replicate the white-nationalist hero’s horrific act.

There were 50 tons of ammonium-nitrate fertilizer, the main component in the truck bombs ignited by Breivik and, before him, Oklahoma City mass killer Timothy McVeigh. He had multiple guns of various makes: semiautomatic and single-shot rifles and handguns, as well as multiple ammo magazines, bullet casings, and gunpowder. He also had a number of laser scopes, a bulletproof vest, camouflage clothing, a ballistic helmet, and a 3D printer that investigators believe he manufactured gun parts with.

The man had set up a laboratory in his garage, but investigators also found that he had likely set up a pipe-bomb-making operation on his kitchen table, which had gunpowder on it. And being a devoted neo-Nazi, he also had a full library of far-right literature, as well as manuals on bomb-building and a handbook on armed struggle.

When investigators went through his online activity, they found that the man had searched for posts and discussion threads about using various kinds of bombs, as well as proposals for attacks on schools. They believe, however, that he had not yet settled on a target.

"The suspect has discussed the possibilities of carrying out attacks on a schoolyard, but there is no evidence that any specific school has been selected. It appears as if the suspect has 'got stuck' in the first planning phase," a statement from the Swedish Defense Research Agency read.

The agency also noted that the man had expressed violent fantasies in various online forums, and promoted violent neo-Nazi beliefs, reflecting his membership in the NRM.

Like a number of neo-Nazi terrorist organizations, the Nordic Resistance Movement is a product of Russia-based fascist activism—particularly the now-defunct Iron March forum, originally the brainchild of a Russian neo-Nazi who went by the nom de guerre Slavros, who created Iron March in 2009 as the rebranded online home of the fascist International Third Position forum.

Iron March subsequently gave birth to the American neo-Nazi terrorist organization Atomwaffen Division, a number of whose members have been arrested by federal authorities for various acts of terrorism, as well as the explicitly fascist Patriot Front organization. Its impact has been global, however; among the organizations that emerged from it are the U.K.-based National Action, the Australia-based Antipodean Resistance, and the New Zealand-based Action Zealandia.

NRM’s goal, according to its website, is to create an ethnically pure pan-Nordic nation that would include all Scandinavian nations, and to deport most non-ethnic Northern European residents. To do so, they say they intend to dismantle the “global Zionist elite”.

Although NRM doesn’t explicitly call for violence, its members train in martial arts and knife attacks, and they will eagerly seek out confrontations.

“The Nordic Resistance Movement is a serious threat—members have attacked refugee centers and traveled to train with other Nazi groups over the years,” Heidi Beirich of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism told Daily Kos. “If the U.S. ever designates another group as a Special Terrorist Organization, I would say NRM should be at the top of the list.”

NRM has been involved in a series of incidents in which members violently confronted minority groups and antifascists. In 2016 and 2017, members planted bombs outside a far-left cafe and a refugee center in Gothenburg, the latter of which injured an immigration officer. At a 2016 protest in Finland, an NMR member killed a man by kicking him in the chest, causing him to fall and hit his head.

The Swedish man arrested for the farmhouse arsenal also has a previous conviction for assault in February 2017 as a result of his NRM activism. At an NRM demonstration in Gothenburg, the man was handing out leaflets when a woman spat in his face. He punched her in the face, causing her to fall to the ground.

“This guy’s track record with them at least led to the police to not sell a shotgun to him,” Beirich observed, “but the prevalence of 3D printed guns among extremists is undermining that strategy. This is a reminder that bombs are quite popular among right-wing extremists as well.”

The incident also is stark evidence that the chain of terrorism fueled by white-nationalist extremism that was initiated by Breivik—who himself was following in the footsteps of killers like McVeigh—continues to mount, notably with the recent mass killing in Buffalo that was inspired by the Christchurch, New Zealand, killer in 2019, who in turn was inspired by Breivik. It also demonstrates the increasing number of arrests of neo-Nazis around the world—including the Austrian man arrested in November 2021 with an arsenal similar to the Swedish man’s—is not simply a coincidence.

“This case is another reminder that far-right extremists are capable of mass violence and if they aren’t tracked and investigated we will get more mass attacks, as we’ve just seen in Buffalo,” said Beirich. “And given the online nature of his postings, once again the web is a key to stopping this violence. As scary as this situation is, it’s sadly becoming par for the course in terms of neo-Nazis and white supremacists. At least in this case, he was arrested before something horrific happened.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

McConnell: Senate Will Vote Wednesday On $40 Billion Ukraine Aid Package

(Reuters) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Sunday that he expects the Senate to vote on Wednesday to approve about $40 billion in proposed aid to help Ukraine resist Russia's invasion, after holding a related procedural vote on Monday.

"We expect to invoke cloture -- hopefully by a significant margin -- on the motion to proceed on Monday, which would set us up to approve the supplemental on Wednesday," McConnell told reporters on a conference call from Stockholm after visiting the Ukrainian capital on Saturday. He was referring to a procedural "cloture" vote that caps further debate on a matter at 30 hours.

President Joe Biden requested $33 billion in aid for Ukraine on April 28, including over $20 billion in military assistance. The U.S. House of Representatives boosted the sum to roughly $40 billion, adding more military and humanitarian aid.

Speaking from the capital of Sweden, which along with Finland plans to seek membership in NATO, McConnell voiced strong support for both countries joining the 30-member Western military alliance created to deter Soviet aggression.

"They have very capable militaries, both of them," McConnell said. "They will be important additions to NATO if they choose to join, and I think the United States ought to be first in line to ratify the treaty for both these countries to join."

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed in St.Paul, Minnesota, and Doina Chiacu in Washington; editing by Matthew Lewis and Jonathan Oatis)

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

New Trump Adviser Likes Sweden’s Deadly Virus Plan

Many of us lit candles and prayed that Sweden's approach to the coronavirus would succeed. As the rest of Europe locked down, Sweden stayed mostly open. Its plan was to keep vulnerable people separate while letting the virus infect the others, thus creating herd immunity — a large proportion of people no longer able to spread the disease. Meanwhile, everyone would go about their business, and the economy wouldn't suffer.

The Swedish example could have offered deliverance from mask wearing, closed gyms, and fights over when to open schools. But it didn't work.

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Sweden Abandons Its Deadly Pandemic Policy

Sweden offered hope that the coronavirus could be reined in without great inconvenience or economic pain. Unlike its neighbors in Scandinavia and elsewhere, Sweden didn't put its people in strict lockdown. Restaurants, bars and shops buzzed with their usual customers. Gyms stayed open, and kids under 16 went to school.

Images of Swedes sunning themselves at crowded cafes dowsed many quarantined Americans and Europeans with envy. Even as other societies start letting people venture forth, they still generally require masks for entry in stores and other businesses.

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Sweden Restores Conscription Amid Russia Fears

IMAGE: Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven comments at a press conference at Rosenbad in Stockholm, Sweden May 9, 2016 TT News Agency/Jessica Gow/via REUTERS

Follow The Money To Uncover Trump’s Deep Ties To Russia

If you think about it, no wonder Donald Trump prefers the imaginative stylings of Fox News to the Presidential Daily Briefing. He’s pretty much the network’s target demographic: a daffy old-timer with time on his hands.

Intelligence reports tend to be complex, hedged with uncertainties. That’s boring to an elderly adolescent. Rather like the big-screen evangelical churches that furnish much of the rest of its audience, Fox News delivers provocative melodrama that keeps viewers wide-awake.

Hence Sweden, one of the safest, most prosperous democracies on earth, becomes a hotbed of terrorist violence. Never mind that Sweden’s terrific crime novelists –Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, Maj Sjowall, and Per Wahloo—probably kill off more imaginary victims than the country has actual homicides.

Sweden has taken in many Syrian refugees; therefore, it must be hell on earth. Anybody who says different is spreading “fake news”—a term that has basically come to signify “I’m talking out my…”

Well, making things up.

However, just because somebody’s reality-challenged doesn’t mean they’re stupid. Even downright delusional people can be extremely cunning in service of their crackpot notions.

Consider what one is tempted to call President Trump’s downright “Clintonian” non-denial denial during his recent press conference: “I own nothing in Russia, I have no loans in Russia, I don’t have any deals in Russia.”

“Russia,” he insisted “is fake news put out by the media.”

Ah, but what about deals “with” or loans “from” Russia? Different question. Trump and his family have been up to their eyeballs in Russian cash for decades.

The president denying this well-documented fact is the rough equivalent of Bill Clinton denying he’d ever met Monica Lewinsky.

Indeed, father and sons used to brag about Russian money. In 2008, Donald Trump Jr. told a real estate conference that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets…We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

After staging the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, Trump boasted that most of Russia’s financial elite attended a swank party he threw. “Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room,” Trump told Real Estate Weekly. It’s important to understand that politically independent Russian oligarchs do not exist. One way or another, Putin owns them all.

During a Republican debate, Trump even claimed a personal relationship with Vladimir Putin. “I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes. We were stablemates,” he said.

Except oops, Putin’s segment was taped in Moscow.

Now Trump says the two have never met, probably true.

“Still, there has been the nagging sense for some time that there’s something off about the way Trump speaks about Putin,” the invaluable blogger Digby explained. She continued:

“It’s obsequious and submissive, which is very uncharacteristic of his normal style and one cannot help but wonder why that is. Trump is not servile toward anyone in this world — except Vladimir Putin. It would be one thing if we could chalk it up as another one of Trump’s weird psychological tics and hope that he isn’t so subject to flattery that he decides to help the Russian leader carve up Europe just to keep his approval. But it seems there’s more to it than that.”

It certainly does. Trump was similarly cagey about his campaign’s reported contacts with Russian intelligence. Another series of non-denial denials: Not that he personally knows. He, Trump, had no Russian contacts. He’s seen people on TV—people he scarcely knows, maybe he was in the same room with them once—denying any such liaisons.

It’s all fake news to him.

So now comes yet another guy Trump hardly knows—a Russian émigré who channeled millions from Moscow investors to various (eventually bankrupt) Trump projects in New York, Fort Lauderdale, and Toronto.

Felix Sater’s name has surfaced in connection with a private “peace initiative” to settle the Ukranian-Russian dispute on terms highly favorable to Russia. According to highly-detailed accounts in the New York Times and Washington Post, the scheme was brokered by Trump’s attorney Michael D. Cohen, a pro-Putin Ukranian legislator, and Sater—supposedly through the good offices of recently-fired national security advisor Michael Flynn.

The scheme’s absurd on its face. But what’s truly amazing is Sater’s participation, a twice-convicted felon: once for stabbing a guy in a bar fight, and later for a multi-million dollar securities fraud tied to the Genovese and Colombo crime families.

While awaiting sentencing, Sater lived two lives: one as a principal in Bayrock, an investment firm located in Trump Tower which funneled millions in Russian capital into several of Trump’s characteristically grandiose projects, a second as a CIA informant on international arms smuggling. The dude belongs in a Jason Bourne movie.

In a 2013 deposition, Trump said he wasn’t sure he’d actually recognize Felix Sater either. Chances are the rest of us will before this astonishing saga ends.

IMAGE: Mr. Trump with Tevfik Arif, center, and Felix H. Sater at the official unveiling of Trump SoHo in September 2007, when it was still under construction. Mark Von Holden/WireImage.