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Sweden's Three-Headed Monster
And the detective novelist? Translated from the original by Kjell Häglund.
Reinfeldt was in a televised debate yesterday. I must admit I lost it. What I saw was a charlatan who studiously tilted his head a bit to one side to simulate social empathy. I so totally lost it. Something inside me broke.
So I sat down to write the article you see before you now. And I must straight away apologise. Because it's lengthy and because it's incoherent and because it's repulsive. But we are so many concerned citizens who've written tonnes of blog articles sounding the alarm, blog articles and newspaper columns and investigative reports about the staggering vandalism of integrity perpetrated by our leading politicians for so many years now. And the shit just keeps on rolling. And the journalists can't keep up.
So now I'll let my keyboard take on my undisguised contempt for a few minutes, in an attempt to not only recapitulate but also to offer a genuine expression of my frustration and despair. This means I will inevitably exaggerate, but that's an unavoidable consequence of having yelped 'wolf' for years about a horde of monsters who run rampant in fine garb in Rosenbad, the our seat of government.
Sweden was once the world's most exciting IT country. When the industrial society lost its momentum, we had a new extraordinarily creative world elite of visionary engineers and entrepreneurs ready to take over.
But then three rather tragic ministers set foot in Rosenbad and short-circuited it all.
'We're not going to criminalise an entire generation!' said the new prime minister, even as he turned his back on an entire generation of social architects.
'We're not completely innocent either - haha!' said the foreign minister with a grin when asked about the NSA scandal, this only days before the discovery that Sweden was the Igor to the Frankstein of the US.
'So, if the wife or a neighbour find out, so, we should have? Yeah violet! Or whatever colour we want for the envelopes! Yes violet is a really good colour, so, you understand, it's going to be obvious', said our minister for justice, word for word, about her proposal to let Hollywood send demands for gajillions of USD to Manga translators with their sport companies, or whatever she was trying to get at.
And here we sit today in the ruins of a People's Home which we at least used to believe was built with a modicum of kindness and liberated happiness, but where the politicians in a rush of flawed judgement took the power away from the people, dismantled our right to privacy, let foreign powers take over, and let the lobbyists sink Swedish rule of law to the bottom of the duckpond.
Of course it actually began a bit earlier, and with another minister for justice, now a detective novelist living in exile. And he traveled to the White House on a secret visit and then interfered with the justice system like a drone raid on The Pirate Bay. When Swedish television's news programme Rapport requested the correspondence between this minister and the US department of Hollywood, he sealed 700 email messages! Then WikiLeaks still managed to leak the US letter of gratitude to Sweden for the successful raid, and it turned out that the Swedish government and the police had been in direct contact with the US throughout the raid - and then given them immediate access to the confiscated servers! Whereafter our detective novelist minister for justice, inspired by the US Patriot Act, who two years earlier helped the CIA smuggle two Egyptians out of the country for rendition to torture chambers, concluded his service by giving the EU an obligatory mass surveillance act.
Then we voted the Three Amigos into power and now began an incomprehensible irrevocable act of destruction. Cerebral flash fires, charred judicial principles, black earth under our scorched feet.
The FRA law Lex Orwell was forced through parliament right in the middle of the European football championships in 2008.
Not only a surprisingly collected Swedish people, including all affected organisations and agencies (including parts of the security police and the department of defence) but even a long line of global institutions from the EFF to Privacy International, protested against what Reinfeldt was trying to do. But at the end of the day, with our parliament building surrounded by protesters, Reinfeldt stood there in his football jersey on a tourist walking street in Tyrol, and clucked happily with inebriated demented football supporters and then held what Aftonbladet called 'a talk to the nation' where he said 'we should be proud, but it's not only the national side on the pitch who've made things so wonderful, it's also the supporters up in the stadium'. The small demographic of Swedes Reinfeldt met in Innsbruck - drunk on Austrian pilsner, sporting their blond wigs and viking helmets: for these people he held a speech, praising them as important - this the very day after he said the protest storms and the earthquake in the Swedish blogosphere against the FRA law were of no importance?
And then we have the classic lament, quoted now again after the Snowden revelations, about how Sweden left the back door open for the US:
'Things would be a lot better if people would stop talking about this!'
Then came the outrageous trial of The Pirate Bay, whose founders were sentenced to prison and melodramatic Hollywood fines for something the entertainment industry today regard as an important part of their product promotion, something that yields even greater profits. In Sweden, both Spotify and the major record labels thank The Pirate Bay for the flourishing digital market they today enjoy. The least Sweden could have done for The Pirate Bay was give them a genuinely fair trial. But no. They went at them with all they had in the form of police investigators who got jobs with lobby companies, and with disqualified court magistrates.
When Karl Sigfrid asked his minister for justice in parliament, a minister whose judicial credentials and grey matter fit cosily in a violet envelope, what she really thinks about a police witness in the TPB trial being rewarded by a top job in the film industry, she replies:
'Policemen being offered positions outside the police authority - that's a good sign! This proves their competence is attractive to the industry!'
And the only one who can do better than that (aside from the king of course) is foreign minister Chuckie Charts (Carl Bildt).
You may have seen the press photos of him in his office before Obama's state visit. At the same time the Pentagon flashed out satellite photos in real time of Syria, good Chuckie sat there holding a coffee in a cup of Gustavian porcelain in his hand, pretending to study two important MENA maps unfolded onto his desk, and with a tower of important but unread books of maps waiting to the side.
He thinks he's a techie Tintin, he with his tweets and (do we need to hear it again) Bluetooth keyboard for his iPad, but anyone who knows Hergé sees only a cartoon villain drunk on espionage, oil rackets, completely uninterested in what he means when he says Sweden is 'Internet-friendly'.
I look up from my computer screen.
It's a Monday evening, the televised debate with Reinfeldt is long since completed, everyone in my family has gone to bed. My hands ache. My laptop battery is as low on power as I am. I feel just like I did last summer when I wrote two full pages on Scientology for Expressen - the misdeeds are so many and on so many different levels, that it's hard to get an overall view.
But Camp Sweden's Reinfeldt, Auntie Violet, and Chuckie Charts have been one big three-headed tragedy for our country. And there's no way to emigrate. I live with them in my everyday life, in my television, in my radio, in my wrath, in my fatigue, in a country they've started to move into self-censorship. They already treat my thoughts like a lounge sofa where anyone can hop on at any time, and I might not even be able to push them away come election year. The detective novelist minister who's behind both the Manga law and the data retention directive says he's tired of lifestyle photoshoots of him sitting in his round window.
Red Hat Diaries: Out with the Old, In with 1984