Monday, April 19, 2010

Sweden: Helping to Sponsor Terrorism?

Swedish newspapers recently reported that "the Swedish Security Police (Säpo) investigates less people for terror connections".  This although there are no signs of a decreased number of people suspected of terrorist crimes. At the same time, Sweden just recently allowed the re-location of the Danish clothing firm "Fighters + Lovers", which last year had six of its members convicted of supporting terrorism. 

According the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, the number of people who are investigated for terrorist affiliations in Sweden during 2009 decreased by 65 percent, compared to the previous year. Still, according to Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College, Sweden has neither become more, nor less, attractive to terrorists. He further argues that there are  a few people in Sweden who are of interest to the Swedish Secret Police (Säpo). Unfortunately, Ranstorp's comment on the decrease in Säpo's investigations is both unclear and apathetic, mirroring the Swedish authorities' ineffective attempt to deal with terrorism.

While there has been a decision to investigate less people for terror connections there are, in fact, anti-democratic forces which are being allowed to function in Sweden. One of these is the Danish organization "Fighters + Lovers" which has been selling its T-shirts from Sweden since August 2009. The homepage states that proceeds from the collection are being forwarded to the FARC guerilla organization in Colombia, and the PFLP, a terror organization responsible for many civilian deaths. This means that Sweden is currently allowing aid to Palestinian terrorists who seek to kill innocent civilians in Israel.

In March 2009 Denmark's Supreme Court found Fighters + Lovers guilty of violating Danish terror legislation. This, as that the company’s T-shirt sales profits help fund the PFLP in the Palestinian territories and the FARC, both of whom are included on the EU's list of terrorist organizations. Fighters + Lovers has since relocated to Sweden, despite the fact that Sweden is also legally obliged to follow the EU list.

This makes one wonder if Sweden is no longer able, or willing to maintain the legal system the state claims to uphold. Could it be that the Swedish Secret Police have stopped looking for terrorists because of fear of what they might find? Or fear of terrorists supporters?

It is known that states which have taken steps towards new counter-terrorism legislation have suffered consequences. Tougher legislation means upsetting not only the actual terrorists but also the civilian population which may feel that the state is infringing on privacy laws.

Still, it is below any acceptable standards for Sweden knowingly to allow businesses to function legally within its borders when the business is funding terrorist organizations such as the PFLP. By doing so, the state of Sweden also becomes an accomplice in the support of terrorism.

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