2/21/2017

Swedish Crime: I interview former Swedish PM Carl Bildt

A few days ago, President Trump gave one of his rambling speeches inside a hangar at the Orlando airport. The campaign-style speech outlined what he intended to do, and was met with cheers and applause by about 9000 fervent followers. The speech was controversial as usual, and included a passage which triggered a long series of articles and social media trolling, which went as follows:
“Sweden. “They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris,”
If we read this carefully, the president didn´t say there had been an attack in Sweden, but he stuck it in between the names of countries which have had horrific terror attacks in recent years.

This time the trolling went to the highest levels of the European elite: former Prime Minister Carl Bildt (who used to lead a center right party)  got on his Samsung and Twitted: “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound.”

Former Swedish Prime Minister´s Tweet 

I saw the potential to get a great pseudointerview out of this controversy, so I called Mr Bildt´s assistant, Mohammed Dame, and managed to get into his busy schedule. So I put on my bullet proof vest in a handbag,  flew to Stockholm, and rushed to Bildt´s favorite hangout in Östermalm, one of the poshest neighborhoods in Europe.

I started the pseudointerview recapping the last 24 hour´s events:

Fernando: Mr Bildt, the origins of your now famous tweet “what has he been smoking?” began with Trump´s speech in Orlando, you didn´t have time to figure out the consequences, so you went ahead and started this controversy. What do you think now that Sweden has been put in the spotlight?

Carl Bildt: Well, after the election, I made a fresh start and decided my own personal and professional priorities were the key to happiness, social media became my top priority, and because I don´t have a real job anymore, I figured, what the hell, I´ll pile on Trump now that´s so fashionable.  

Fernando: However, as  you know, terrorism in Europe is getting on people´s nerves, it has never been the same since the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Belgium and Nice ratcheted up tension,

Brexit has a lot to do with immigrant crime and terrorism, and Marine le Pen is now running first in French polls for the forthcoming presidential elections. Didn´t you think joking about Trump´s comment would eventually bring to light problems the Swedish government prefers to hide?

Carl Bildt: European nations were not prepared for this mass immigration and the terrorist attacks. This is a fact. Now you try to fix that. Of course the influx from the Middle East and Africa was to be expected, but for a long time fewer refugees have come to Europe, so that the present masses suddenly came. And here we are….

FERNANDO:: What do you think is the reason for the sudden increase in refugees?

Bildt: There is a massive under-financing of the World Food Program (WFP), which has been cut by 40 percent. The abolition of funds is one cause of the current refugee wave. It is important that the affected persons are looked after in the region. These countries need economic aid.

FERNANDO: The Swedish government seems to be ignoring the crime problem, and instead it focuses on half baked measures. For example, they have summits devoted to the refugee theme to improve distribution of the wave of immigrants encouraged by Merkel, Hollande, and Stefan Löfven, your own Prime Minister,  and leader of the left wing Social Democrats. Is this sufficient? Don´t you think the government should take stronger measures to stop the rising crime wave?

Bildt: Sending some of the immigrants to Portugal and Spain  is a short-term measure to take the pressure on countries that have been practically invaded from the South, like Greece and Hungary. I do not expect all problems to be solved, but I hope that some sort of direction is given. Then it will take a relatively long time to take sustainable measures. We need more funding devoted to the welfare of regugees, and more foreign aid given to countries like Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, and Burkina Faso.

FERNANDO: In the face of disputes within the EU, the question arises as to whether Europe can break the issue of refugees?

Bildt: In principle no, because the Member States differ in some respects. But they all agree that a common solution is needed sometime in the future. The EU has over two dozen members, and it takes a bunch of time just to figure out if we are having coffee or tea, so this problem just takes a lot of meetings, conferences, summits….the meeting in Malaga between Hollande and Rajoy is an excellent example. It won´t amount to much, but it gives the impression we are moving somewhere.

FERNANDO: Sweden has the highest number of asylum seekers in Europe per capita, but the integration seems to be quite modest. I would even say it´s a total disaster. How do you explain that?

Bildt: We also have our challenges. It should not be forgotten that asylum seekers have come for a long time. We also have problems when so many people arrive in Sweden in such a short time. The biggest challenge is integration, where we are not as good as we should be.

FERNANDO: Do you think that Sweden will keep the frontiers open in the face of the new refugee flows and the growing opposition of the right-wing populist Swedish democrats? Tove Lifvendahl, a Swedish reporter, wrote recently “We’ve taken in far too many people and we’re letting them down badly – especially the children”. Isn´t it a serious concern when an eight-year-old is killed by a grenade attack, and a four year old is killed by a car bomb?

Bildt: I think so. But Swedes are still open and tolerant, and we must also be concerned about integration. If you look at demographics, you come to the conclusion: Europe needs immigration, the question is how to make them into law abiding citizens. We need to figure out how to take a Somali or an Iraqi and turn him into a law abiding member of Swedish society. 

FERNANDO:: Do you think that the current refugees have the appropriate qualifications and attitudes?  Amir Rostami, an authority on Swedish organised crime who teaches at Stockholm University has declared 
“the problems relating to immigration have been building up for years, but the country’s left and right were united in maintaining employment regulations and rent controls that kept immigrants unemployed in ghetto-like suburbs. As a result, we lost valuable time. Three years ago, there were riots in socially deprived areas of Stockholm, and it’s only got worse since then. A parallel society is emerging where the state’s monopoly on law and order is being challenged. ‘Today, the gang environment is — well, I don’t want to exactly call it the Wild West, but something in that direction,’”
Bildt: We do not know how this is going to work out. I think most immigrants will already have good social customs, others will acquire them, others will not. There is a comprehensive study on the Bosnian refugees who came which shows some of them do turn out to be really bad criminals. But we are lucky because, so far, most of them stick to crime and don´t become terrorists, like they do in France, Belgium, Spain, and other European nations.

Fernando: Zoie O´Brien and Lizzie Stromme wrote recently that
 “Swedish police are being attacked as they struggle to cope with crime in "no-go" areas of the country with high migrant populations....Sweden has seen a huge surge in crime since the start of the migrants crisis in Europe with a rise in sex assaults, drug dealing and children carrying weapons.”
Doesn´t that sort of weaken your Twitter assault on Trump? This mess is bound to come out eventually, and you´ll look a bit like a trolling patsy for the CNN crowd.

Bildt: (wipes sweat off his forehead) Maybe you are right, we really shouldn´t get into a contest with Trump comparing crime in Sweden with crime in Chicago. That son of a bitch will point out Chicago´s mayor, Ram Emanuel, is a Democrat. Maybe I need to take a walk and get some fresh air, change the subject by putting out some Twitters about Climate Change and the forthcoming Zambia conference on African solar power…

FERNANDO: Let´s change the subject to Syria: Do you think that Russia's stronger intervention, possibly with the aid of group units, is realistic, will it help stop the refugee flow into Greece and then onto the rest of Europe? Can this invasion be stopped at all?

Bildt: Russia does indeed help some in Syria, but it won´t be able to defeat the rebels and the ISIS terrorists. We need to be prepared to take in a full scale invasion...err...millions of refugees, and increase the amount of aid we give to the different groups, because the Russian´s won´t get any results.

FERNANDO: Your comment reminds me of the Byzantine Emperor giving a fortune to the Bulgars to keep them out of his hair. Sadly it didn´t work very well with every prospective invader, and eventually the Turks took Constantinople, wiped out the Serbs at Kosovo Polje and went all the way to Vienna.  It seems to me the key is to end all these civil wars and conflicts and let the local dictator take control. Can there be a conflict-free solution without involving Bashar al-Assad?

Bildt: I can not imagine a long-term solution of the conflict with Assad. He is responsible for more than 200,000 dead. We have to encourage the fighting until it ends with victory for a Muslim group keen to implement democracy and full equal rights for women and the LGBT community. Europe´s emphasis should be to take in as many refugees as possible and wait until the civil war ends, which may take years. But like President Obama said, Assad has to go, and we can´t turn back even if this strategy has failed until now. And we can´t let Russia decide what happens, Euronews, CNN, and other media say they are bad guys.

Seeing that he was starting to get a bit worked up and was holding a heavy ashtray  as if he wanted to bash me, I decided to conclude the interview and rush to the airport. So I exited right, took a taxi which avoided the no-go crime ridden areas so common in Stockholm, and got home safely.

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Reference: Newspaper articles on the Swedish crime problem are fairly common. I understand Swedes are forbidden by their censorship laws from expressing themselves about what´s going on (shades of 1984), and there´s a new anti immigration party that´s rising in the polls, but the problem is for real, and sure looks like Trump´s comment was right. Whether CNN and the other media let the people know the truth is a different issue. I bet they won´t. Some selected Articles follow:

The Spectator

How Sweden became an example of how not to handle immigration We’ve taken in far too many people and we’re letting them down badly – especially the children

By Tove Lifvendahl

For a British boy to be killed by a grenade attack anywhere is appalling, but for it to happen in a suburb of Gothenburg should shatter a few illusions about Sweden. Last week’s murder of eight-year-old Yuusuf Warsame fits a pattern that Swedes have come slowly to recognise over the years. He was from Birmingham, visiting relatives, and was caught up in what Swedish police believe is a gang war within the Somali community. Last year, a four-year-old girl was killed by a car bomb outside Gothenburg, another apparent victim of gang violence.

For years, Sweden has regarded itself as a ‘humanitarian superpower’ — making its mark on the world not by fighting wars but by offering shelter to war’s victims. Refugees have arrived here in extraordinary numbers. Over the past 15 years, some 650,000 asylum-seekers made their way to Sweden. Of the 163,000 who arrived last year, 32,000 were granted asylum. Sweden accepts more refugees in proportion to size of population than any other nation in the developed world — when it comes to offering shelter, no one does it better. But when it comes to integrating those we take in (or finding the extra housing, schools and healthcare needed for them), we don’t do so well.

It may be news to the rest of the world, but gang warfare has been a feature of our country for years now. Stockholm has been witness to Dickensian scenes of young pickpockets and thieves playing games of cat-and-mouse with the police, who feel powerless. Until fairly recently, Sweden was admired for its progressive social policies. Today, one in seven voters supports the Sweden Democrats, a populist party until recently reviled in polite Swedish society.

The problems relating to immigration have been building up for years, but the country’s left and right were united in maintaining employment regulations and rent controls that kept immigrants unemployed in ghetto-like suburbs. As a result, we lost valuable time. Three years ago, there were riots in socially deprived areas of Stockholm, and it’s only got worse since then. A parallel society is emerging where the state’s monopoly on law and order is being challenged. ‘Today, the gang environment is — well, I don’t want to exactly call it the Wild West, but something in that direction,’ says Amir Rostami, an authority on Swedish organised crime who teaches at Stockholm University.


********************

Open borders and vintage Balkan hand grenades are being blamed for a crime wave in Sweden

By Aamna Mohdin

Sweden third largest city, Malmö, has built a reputation as the country’s Chicago. But it’s not just gun violence that’s blighted the port city. It’s borne the brunt of the hand-grenade attacks that have been on the rise in Sweden in the last couple of years: the number of grenade attacks jumped from eight in 2014 to 52 in 2016.

Many of the grenades have been smuggled in from the Balkans, explains Manne Gerell, a criminology researcher at Malmö University who has been studying the attacks. “They are surplus weapons from the civil war,” he says, but “it’s not as well established exactly how they’ve come in [to Sweden].” In some cases, buyers of other smuggled weapons are given the grenades cheaply or for free as a bonus.

Last December, the government proposed tougher penalties (link in Swedish), which should take effect this July. The possession of explosives, such as grenades, would be penalized on the same scale as carrying firearms. The government proposed raising the minimum prison term from 6 months to a year, and imposing a new penalty scale of 3-6 years for the most serious cases. “Those who go out with a weapon should know that it could be several years before they are allowed to see their family outside of a prison again,” Löfven told parliament earlier this month.

Though the attacks appear random, authorities believe many to be linked with organized crime. “In most cases, either the suspect or the victim is associated with a criminal network,” Gerell says. He suggests the hand grenades are mainly used for intimidation, since many have been thrown into empty cars and buildings. The attack that killed Warsame was linked to an underworld feud.


Swedish police being ATTACKED as they struggle in 'NO GO ZONES' as migrant crime rockets SWEDISH police are being attacked as they struggle to cope with crime in "no-go" areas of the country with high migrant populations, a report has revealed.

By Zoie O'Brien AND Lizzie Stromme

The country has seen a huge surge in crime since the start of the migrants crisis in Europe with a rise in sex assaults, drug dealing and children carrying weapons. In the secret report by Sweden's National Criminal Investigation Service, attacks on officers are detailed, including police cars being stoned by masked groups. Some 52 areas have been put on a '"blacklist" which are then divided into three categories from "risk areas" to "seriously vulnerable". And the report revealed Sweden’s Capital Stockholm had over 20 no-go areas where over 75,000 people live.

The report comes after law enforcement chiefs in the country called for extra officers, admitting they cannot cope with the levels of crime being committed. National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson said he needed a further 4,100 officers and specialist staff to deal with the surge in incidents since migrants entered the nation in their thousands. He said:
“We have to go to work against unrest in the asylum centres which places a much greater demand than might appear outwardly. In some places in Sweden this eats significant resources out of the police's capability. Moreover, from several sources there are reports that staff are poorly prepared to handle violence, threats and conflicts - while there are too few security guards."
Last month, Swedish police had to run for safety after being surrounded by an angry mob of migrants when they went to rescue a 10-year-old boy, who had allegedly been raped and 22-year-old Alexandra Mezher was stabbed to death by a Somali boy aged 15.


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