Category Archives: Politics

Trouble in Paradise

Right-wing thugs are raising hell in the Garden of Tolerant Eden

A gang of up to a hundred black-clad masked men marched in central Stockholm on Friday evening, singling out and beating up immigrants, and handing out leaflets threatening further violent attacks against unaccompanied refugee youths

Sweden, the snow-kissed paradise of the north, appears to have swallowed something rather nasty. A primal stench has escaped the bowels of the capital city as pseudo-Viking savages ran riot and swung at any immigrant within clubbing distance.

‘Immigrant’, in the eyes of the savages (and apparently in the pages of the local press), means specifically ‘non-white immigrant’. Luckily for us, my fair-faced wife and daughter could pass for pure-bred children of the snow, and a gradual graying underlines my pallid pinkness.

But for a newly-landed colleague, with Creole parentage and what a savage might see as a suspicious skin tone, this feels far from the paradise in the guidebook. At an anti-immigrant march the previous weekend, he saw first-hand a Viking vs. Policeman wrestling match. This sounds like a fight at a Village People concert but on camera (he was close enough to film it), it looked rather grim. Thankfully it was only a few seconds before The Policeman pinned his opponent to the ground. The Viking seemed resigned to his fate. He had forgotten his horned helmet and axe, and went to Valhalla with minimal fuss.

The most obvious trigger for the pseudo-Viking outbreak was the murder of a Swedish social worker at a refugee centre. The hooligans’ leaflets proclaimed that they were rampaging to protect “våra svenska kvinnor” (“our Swedish women”. A rampage of honour. History’s first chivalrous rampage?

Many Swedish women were unimpressed. Nevertheless, refugee youths have been warned to stay indoors. For some reason this advice has not been extended to those who might resemble immigrants in the eyes of a thuggish Rightist. Perhaps a little thuggery sharpens the eyesight, like eating carrots. If you ever see a Rightist with an orange tinge, steer clear — he is doubly dangerous.

This is not the Sweden of the guidebook. But every country is a refuge for idiots. With luck the nascent Sun will scare them back into their caves.


Quote and picture from The Local.

Surveillance technology sales is the new arms sales

An interesting article in Fast Company contains a quote from John Villasenor of UCLA on surveillance technology:

For the first time ever, it will become technologically and financially feasible for authoritarian governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders.

The high-tech scandals of the last generation were over arms sales – Iran-Contra, Saudi Arabia-BAE.

This generation’s biggest ‘selling stuff to bad guys’ scandals may well be over surveillance technology.

Companies like McAfee have been accused of selling technology that helps the governments of Iran, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, and others to censor their citizens.

In the wake of the Arab Spring, which brought social-network powered action against repressive regimes to the front pages, and the SOPA/PIPA dispute, that has spread ‘Stop censorship’ badges across the internet in protest against the actions of major corporations, surveillance technology sales seems likely to become a much hotter issue in the next few years.