Saturday, August 10, 2019

Swedish Phish

In February 2017, our friend the New York Crank told the readers of No More Mister Nice Blog a story about
an attack that in fact never happened — by “terrorist” immigrants who didn’t exist, in Sweden.
Said Trump recently, “You look what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden! Who would believe this? Sweden! They took in large numbers, they’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
This left the Swedes scratching their heads. Nothing had happened in Sweden on the night Trump referred to. How Donald Trump turned on his TV to Fox and Friends [which had in fact run a report claiming that the north Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby was an immigrant-dominated "no-go zone" where Christians were unsafe] and arrived at this conclusion is a job for the men with the white coats when he finally arrives in a straight jacket at the National Home for Daft and Bewildered Ex-Presidents.
Crank went on to talk about the international response to the incident as a good model for how we could start dealing with our then-new president, through merciless ridicule, as demonstrated by the group of Danish Facebook users who organized a "Pray for Sweden" vigil, or the German report of a new Ikea product:

Anyway, some unexpected follow-up to the story came up in today's Times,
two days later, as Swedish officials were heaping bemused derision on Mr. Trump, something did in fact happen in Rinkeby: Several dozen masked men attacked police officers making a drug arrest, throwing rocks and setting cars ablaze.
And it was right around that time, according to Mr. Castillo and four other witnesses, that Russian television crews showed up, offering to pay immigrant youths “to make trouble” in front of the cameras.
“They wanted to show that President Trump is right about Sweden,” Mr. Castillo said, “that people coming to Europe are terrorists and want to disturb society.”
Yes, the rightwing effort to paint old Sweden as a Muslim-run hellhole that's been taken over by immigrants is run, at least in part, by Russians:

researchers have tracked how Russian state outlets like RT and Sputnik, along with Western platforms like Infowars and Breitbart, have picked up and amplified Swedish immigration-related stories to galvanize xenophobia among their audiences.
Bjorn Palmertz, a disinformation specialist at the Swedish Defense University, said this “information laundry” had resulted in globally viral stories like the one about the Swedish town that allowed a mosque to issue calls to prayer while denying a church’s application to ring its bells — never mind that the church had not applied.
I knew about the Infowars connection, because I follow the Twitter account of somebody called Paul Joseph Watson or @PrisonPlanet who works for Mr. Jones from what I believe is his mother's basement, making videos and tweeting in support of the Ukip party and opposition to Islam, gender fluidity, Democrats, Lady Gaga, and of course the Swedes' surrender to occupation, in the interests of which he's not unwilling to fabricate some evidence:
And if you'd asked me, I would have said I suspected the Russian connection too, though I'm not certain how seriously I'd have meant that. Now it's pretty clear that it's serious enough to make a difference, though it may already have passed its peak. The party the Russians favor, the openly Nazi-derived Sweden Democrats, racked up a vote of nearly 18% in the 2018 elections, enough to cause serious annoyance in the formation of a coalition government, which took a good five months to form, but in this year's European Parliament election, when they'd given up on their proposal for a Swexit from the EU,
“Our opposition to the EU has been used as a stick to beat the party. I think it’s good to show that we are not for protectionism...”
they only got 15%, and three MEPs.

The main point I want to make is that that Russian connection exists with Sweden's illiberal movement, and Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, as the Times reporting now shows, as it does apparently all over the place. I'll be looking in a couple of additional posts at cases in which the Russian influence may be a good deal more serious in the course of the week.

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.

No comments: