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Ah Those Ducks!
What's to be done? They don't represent anyone.
HELGEANDSHOLMEN (RIKSGATAN) (Rixstep) — Slap the lamers in the face with the naked raw truth and they still carry on. What's to be done?
New revelations show that the Swedish FRA have been working closely with the NSA to actively hack computer systems, something that's very very illegal in Sweden.
So how do Sweden's duly elected representatives react?
'I assume the FRA obey the law', says minister for defence Karin Enström.
In new documents from April of this year, now shown on Swedish state television, it's been revealed that the Swedish signals surveillance agency FRA have been working with the NSA on the so-called Quantum project, an elaborate system to hack into remote systems so they can be monitored and controlled by the NSA.
As recently as this year, the FRA have manipulated email messages to help the NSA hack the computers involved. This is of course eminently easy, given the saturation of Microsoft in the duckpond, but it also means the FRA are breaking the law.
It's the sitting right wing government with 'luminaries' like Carl Bildt and Fredrik 'Sleeping People' Reinfeldt who are supposed to control the FRA. But Bildt is good friends with US outcast Karl Rove, who in turn is campaign consultant to Reinfeldt and his party, and Bildt has long been accused of working for the CIA, having likely made contact after his high school years as a clerical staffer recruited by the very same FRA, something mostly kept under wraps until now.
Evening tabloid Aftonbladet did a quick survey of parliamentary reactions to the sensational reports.
√ Peter Hultqvist of the Social Democratic Party, the same party who once, explicitly for the CIA, kept illegal dossiers on party members suspected of leaning 'too far to the left', simply echoes what Enström said.
'I assume the FRA are following guidelines and laws.'
√ Torbjörn Björlund of the relatively small Leftist Party is not as complacent.
'We're very critical. This joint venture with the NSA is more than they wanted us to know about, and it indicates a very deep involvement with the NSA. This isn't something we were told about, either by the FRA or anyone else.'
√ Peter Rådberg is from Sweden's green party, and he too dares stick out his nose.
'Sweden's headed down a very dangerous path. This is serious. They're ignoring the need for integrity. This can have serious diplomatic consequences. So we want new laws that better define what the FRA may and may not do. We need a new law to regulate the FRA. Then we have to make sure the Reinfeldt government are also following the law. The current law is not good enough and needs to be reviewed. As well as the secret court adjudicating in these matters.'
√ Mikael Jansson is from the Sweden Democrats who entered parliament at the most recent election, taking votes, it was said, from Rick Falkvinge's Pirate Party. Whilst Falkvinge preached digital integrity, the Sweden Democrats, with Jimmy Åkesson in the lead, want a more 'Swedish' Sweden, the current immigration policies to be reviewed, and generally old-fashioned value systems that are more at home in the countryside.
'We have a lot of confidence in the FRA. We who are sitting on our defence committee get special briefings from the FRA. I feel very calm about the matter, confident they are doing their job properly and according to Swedish law. We have two dedicated agencies tasked with keeping an eye on the FRA; they make us even safer. I question the authenticity of those documents.'
√ Allan Widman of the Liberal Party outs himself.
'I cannot, on the basis of the documentation I've only looked at briefly, come with any firm judgements about who did what and who has done it [sic]. What I can ascertain, going a long time back, is that representatives of the FRA say that they are fully following current Swedish legislation as regards signals intelligence. I assume that to be the case until the opposite is proved.'
√ Mikael Oscarsson of the Christian Democrats, an appendage of the Centre Party, comes with empty platitudes.
'Basically we need a good intelligence service to protect Sweden. We had an extensive discussion in 2008; we think this resulted in a good law that gave us adequate parliamentary insight and control. And of course I assume the FRA are in compliance with the law.'
√ Staffan Danielsson of the Centre (former Farmers) Party also instills confidence.
'We have one of the world's most transparent and most open laws as regards the collection of information for our national security. The law means that they're given permission, according to various criteria, and this is followed up by a dedicated agency. The offices controlling these activities have full insight.'
Do We Need More Insight?
Aftonbladet then asked MPs if they thought the FRA revelations warranted a new investigation.
√ Peter Hultqvist, Social Democrats:
'Sweden already has an oversight agency.'
√ Torbjörn Björlund, Leftists:
'If the oversight agency didn't pick this up, then they need to be investigated, and we need a thorough review.'
√ Peter Rådberg of the greens:
'Absolutely! Without a doubt! The FRA can do too much today because the law is so weak. Several experts have already spoken out about this situation. The law is weak.'
√ Mikael Jansson of the Sweden Democrats:
'No, not based on the information we currently have at our disposal.'
√ Mikael Oscarsson of the Christian Democrats:
'We have a clear law with strict controls and parliamentary insight. But were there any shortcomings, then of course we'd have to take care of them.'
√ Allan Widman, Liberal Party:
'I've already said that I think it's rather straightforward, when Swedish television publish their data, to let our oversight agency review the data.'
√ Staffan Danielsson of the Centre (formerly Farmers) Party:
'Now we're getting new information and our insight agencies must of course review this data and ask questions of the FRA.'
Too Close for Comfort?
Aftonbladet next asked MPs if the FRA operated too closely with the NSA.
√ Peter Hultqvist, Social Democrats:
'I assume they are following the law.'
√ Torbjörn Björlund, Leftists:
'This new information indicates they're too close.'
√ Peter Rådberg, greens:
'No I don't think we can say that. The FRA are allowed to work with the NSA. That's not the problem. But if they start trading information with the US, then they've crossed the line. And that's what's happened in this case.'
√ Mikael Jansson, Sweden Democrats:
'The FRA are very cautious about their connections with the NSA.'
√ Mikael Oscarsson, Christian Democrats:
'They can only cooperate with the NSA if it serves our interests.'
√ Allan Widman, Liberal Party, does it again.
'I can honestly say that I know nothing about the extent of this connection with the NSA. I can only say that it seems to be part of a military and political joint venture. From the little I've seen, I don't feel confident making any statements at this time. I'm still not sure what happened, where it happened, and who made it happen.'
√ Staffan Danielsson, Centre (former Farmers) Party:
'The FRA operate within a legal framework controlled by insight agencies. I don't have the ability, based on my lack of information, to pass judgement in the matter, but my belief is they're operating within the framework.'
Ah Those Ducks!
It's fairly obvious that even Swedish MPs aren't doing their job. Only two parties - the Leftists and the Greens - seem to have been awake when the FRA news broke. One of the other MPs admits - several days after the revelations were made public - that no, he still hasn't looked into the matter!
And of course: Sweden Democrats questioning the authenticity of the documents is the living end.
That Swedish politics are corrupt is something no one can any longer deny. But that the corruption goes so deep that it affects the very members of parliament - behaviour that need not be limited to the duckpond - indicates citizenries have to work more to make sure the representatives they hire really do their job.
SVT: The Snowden Report (English)
Aftonbladet: Försvarsministern om nya FRA-avslöjanden
Aftonbladet: Så ser riksdagspartierna på nya FRA-avslöjadet [sic]