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Sweden's War on Free Speech
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Sweden's War on Free Speech

Source: gatestoneinstitute.org

According to the Swedish mainstream media, the country has experienced a significant rise in prosecutions for "hate speech" on social media last year. The organization believed to be largely responsible for this rise is "Näthatsgranskaren" ("The Web Hate Investigator"), a private organization founded in January 2017 by a former police officer, Tomas Åberg, who has taken it upon himself to identify and report to the authorities Swedish individuals whom he and his organization decide are committing thought crimes and "inciting hatred" against foreigners.

Åberg's organization reported no fewer than 750 Swedish citizens in 2017 to the authorities for "web hate". According to Aftonbladet, 14% of the reported cases went on to prosecution of which about 7% -- 77 cases -- led to actual convictions. Most of the people identified and reported by the organization were middle aged and elderly ladies. "The average age is around 55 years", said Åberg, "Young women almost do not appear at all".

According to Aftonbladet, "In his work, Tomas Åberg sees how quickly people are radicalized on the internet and he thinks it's scary. It may begin with statements against foreigners that are within the framework of the law, only to end with serious criminal hatred". ("Hate" is actually not a crime, according to Swedish law; "incitement to hate" is). 

Åberg founded the organization with a friend, because, he said, he did not think that "serious internet crimes" were being taken seriously enough in Sweden. "We created our own search application, which finds words and phrases that might be suspected of constituting incitement against ethnic groups and unlawful threats".

At present, the organization consists of 15 people, including police officers, system developers, lecturers, lawyers and social workers, all of whom are anonymous. The organization refuses to identify the people working for it.

Åberg was recently nominated for a prestigious prize, the "Swedish Hero" award, by one of Sweden's largest newspapers, Aftonbladet. Since 2007, the newspaper has awarded the "Swedish Hero" prize every year "to everyday heroes who have shown bravery, civil courage and human compassion". Apparently, turning in fellow Swedes to the authorities for alleged "hate speech" is now viewed in Sweden as "heroic".

Shortly after Tomas Åberg's nomination to the "Swedish Hero" award, however, his name reportedly disappeared from the list of nominees with no explanation offered by Aftonbladet. Åberg, it turned out, who used to own an animal farm, had apparently starved his oxen to death in 2013. After he was reported to the police for the animal abuse, he reportedly changed his name, fled abroad to escape justice, and returned to Sweden only as the statute of limitations on his crime was expiring.

Notably in Sweden, while it is not seen as "compassionate" or "heroic" to starve animals to death, it is viewed as 'heroic' to report elderly citizens to the police for them to be prosecuted and have their lives potentially ruined for voicing their opinions on social media.

Not only does the mainstream media view reporting thought crimes to the media as "heroic"; the Swedish state actively supports it. Åberg's organization received 600,000 Swedish kroner ($73,000) from the Swedish government. This support was motivated by referencing "activities against racism and intolerance".

It is curious that the Swedish state can afford to give more than half a million Swedish kroner away to a private vigilante organization, run by a seemingly shady figure, at a time when the Swedish police are starved for resources and barely have time to investigate the very crimes, including horrific gang rapes, which are causing these 'hateful' social media posts to begin with.

One of the elderly women, whose life Åberg has disrupted and possibly ruined, is a 73-year old woman with no criminal record, who shared an old text from 2015, widely available on the internet and written by someone else, in a small Facebook group of barely 50 people. She has been charged with "incitement against an ethnic group" for sharing the following:

A biological sensation in Sweden. A new bird species (parasitus muslimus) has established itself here... In recent years, the Arab bird (parasitus muslimus) has been widely spread in northern Europe, largely because it lacks natural enemies here...The female has a comprehensive feather shield, where only the eyes are visible... The male usually has four females... The species is a migratory bird but with the weird feature that they never move back...

Another woman, 75, was charged with "inciting hatred against an ethnic group" after writing the following about marriage among Muslims on Facebook in May 2017:

"The right to our bodies? Wonder what they mean by that? They say they are not allowed to choose the husband themselves. It must be a cousin, uncle... or maybe a grandfather. Probably they are completely IQ-liberated because inbreeding among Muslims has been going on for thousands of years. "

Yet another woman, Christina, 65, was charged with "inciting hatred against an ethnic group" for writing on Facebook: "If this continues, the intelligence in Sweden will be at goldfish level" and "Refuse all that has to do with Islam". She denies having written those statements but insists that she wishes to warn Swedes against Islam. According to news reports, in 2016 Christina was assaulted by four so-called "unaccompanied minors" (migrants) and knocked unconscious, an act that has impaired her memory. No one was sentenced for that assault, but she now faces financial difficulties and cannot pay her rent. She receives no help from the Swedish state. So far, Christina has reportedly been interrogated six times, for up to two hours each, for her alleged thought crimes, asked about her childhood, and whether she was doing drugs. She has no criminal record.

Read the entire article here.

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