Wag the dog

A news item in one of the Swedish daily newspapers caught my eye today. “Swedish police will be allowed to use teargas” said the headline in

“Dagens Nyheter”

, and was, as it turned out, somewhat misleading. The Swedish police have been allowed to use teargas before, but only inside buildings, for example to force people out of an occupied building. Now, however, they will be allowed to use it outdoors also. Possible scenarios are demonstrations and football matches, to quote DN.

Be sure about one thing. If the authorities have a weapon, it will be used, however much they may decry its use in advance, and say that it is to be used under extreme situations only. It’s amazing how normal situations suddenly become extreme if you have a weapon which is only to be used in extreme situations. Ask the Americans, still the only nation on the planet to have used a weapon of mass destruction, the atomic bomb, which they used at the end of the second world war. Somehow the justification was found. Twice.

The article in DN also mentioned pepper spraying. Now actually I must admit that I didn’t know the police had pepper sprays in their arsenal. It has apparently not had the medial attention here that it has obtained elsewhere, thanks in no small part to Lieutenant Pike. I also remember reading some horrific reports in the Icelandic press on the use of pepper sprays during the anti-government kitchen demonstrations there three years ago.

Pretty much all that most people know about pepper sprays in Sweden is that it is a criminal offence for the general public to own them, a fact which received much criticism many years ago when a woman was convicted after being found bringing one into the country, to have in her handbag in case of attack. It was not, as far as I remember, even considered extenuating circumstances that she was perpetually being harassed and threatened by her former husband.

Be that as it may, pepper sprays will be more strictly controlled, and may not be used “in arrest rooms…and also inside vehicles”.

So now we will see peaceful demonstrations turned into non-peaceful ones by a canister of teargas being lobbed into the crowd. If there’s one thing that will piss anyone off, it’s being on the borders of a teargas attack, and even those patient beings who aren’t pissed off will anyway start to run from the scene of the attack, and suddenly you have a violent demonstration, calling for more teargas and lots of arrests.

Now, you can call me a conspiration theorist for that last comment, and perhaps with some justification, but one thing that worries me is that even here in peaceful Sweden we are beginning to see a brutalisation of the police. More and more often one will see a police force who look like something out of

“Star Wars”.

They swing heavy battering rams into doors as a matter of course nowadays, and the local versions of SWAT teams are more and more visible.

There has been talk of allowing the military to “help” the police in connection with certain “disturbances”, something which, as far as I am aware, has not been allowed in the country since shortly after the military shot several marching strikers near a little town called Ådal in 1913. This is the Swedish version of what in the US is called

“posse comitatus”

a law forbidding the use of the country’s military to uphold the law of the land, a law which has recently been annulled by President Obama in one of the clauses of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (US spelling).

It seems to me that our leaders, all over Europe, and, indeed, the western world, and now even here in peaceful Sweden, are becoming more and more worried that fewer and fewer of their subjects are prepared to accept some of the gross violations of trust which these leaders perpetrate on a daily basis, and are brutalising the police, and preparing the way for the use of military, as their only means of ensuring their own protection in the long run.

The signs of unrest are everywhere. In the Occupy movements, which admittedly seem to have run out of steam, perhaps not surprisingly since they have been subjected to an excess of the brutality I mentioned above. In the highly effective attacks on offending agency’s websites by the hacker collective, Anonymous, which the mainstream media have more or less successfully managed to cover up. I will not forget other, less exotic hacker attacks by other groups.

And now Hillary Clinton has acknowledged that the US, at least, is losing the information battle – I believe she called it the propaganda battle, which says more than she perhaps intended – to online news sites such as for financial news and comment,, Russian television site, or the Asian Times site,, giving a Chinese slant to the news. Not to mention the often dystrophic sites for those who merely plan for survival in the face of a collapse of civilisation as we know it, such as Even if one acknowledges that some of these sites may have their own agenda, at least one can assume that they are reliable on general news, and the general news they publish is news which, if it is published at all by the mainstream media, is given a little notice somewhere on page 18, and played down, if not given a downright hostile angle.

I am coming to the conclusion that, in order to distract us from our disgruntlement, our leaders are going to lead us in true “Wag the Dog” fashion into what could easily end up as World War III. Whether or not they succeed in that endeavour, I sense with sadness that war is coming. I believe it will be civil war, The People vs The State, with the bulk of the population on one side, and the government, police and military on the other. Unless, of course, our leaders take their common sense in hand, and start demolishing the restrictions they have raised on our privacy, and remembering who it is who – I will not say pays them, for we know that is not we the people who pay them – who it is who elects them, and whom it is that they are there to represent.

Footnote: if any of my readers thought this post was a bit over-the-top, here the evidence it wasn’t, from

“The Daily Telegraph”

For shame!

Sometimes it’s hard to be a blogger. It’s hard to decide which atrocity of all the atrocities we now read about daily is the one which requires the hardest defiance. Could it be the reports I read recently about how the British Ministry of Defence promotes private arms dealers? If there is one place where even trade liberalists should have second thoughts it is on the question of private arms dealing.

Could it be the continuing insistence on the part of the Swedish immigration authority, despite countless outcries from the general public, to extradite asylum-seekers to countries where their safety is in jeopardy, not just because the country to which they are to be extradited is in one of the stages of civil war, in which people with the profile of the asylum-seeker are at grave risk, but also because the person in question is often a former regime critic, who in all probability will be at least jailed for his criticism if not tortured and killed. And this extradition is usually done on the grounds that another government department has refused to acknowledge what all the world knows and acknowledges, that there is an armed conflict going on in the proposed recipient country.

Or could it be the New Zealand government lying down and playing dead for the US government and its corporate paymasters for the second time in a month over the closure of the file storage site, Megauploads? From the reports that are circulating the owner of this site is not being tried for running a pirate site in New Zealand and thereby – if the case is proved – depriving New Zealand artists and companies of income. He is being tried to determine whether he can be extradited to the US for trial.

But today I think the prize for the most disgraceful act by those in power is David Cameron’s attack on the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR). Here are some quotes from

“The Guardian’s”


“Britain wants … to reform the work of the court so that it focuses on serious abuses of human rights in some of its 47 member states such as Russia and Ukraine.”

“The prime minister criticised the court’s decision to block the deportation of the Islamic cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan. “

We do have a real problem

when it comes to foreign nationals who threaten our security,” Cameron told [the] assembly.”

“Britain [i.e. Cameron] appeared to have won a significant victory in securing general support for reform when

members voted unanimously

on Tuesday night to agree that

the court should be “subsidiary” to national authorities

– governments, courts and parliaments – in guaranteeing human rights.”

“Cameron, who said that the court has a

backlog of 150,000 cases

, said it should not act as a court of fourth instance in states where domestic rulings are reasonable and in line with the convention.”

Turning the court onto serious abuses in states such as Russia and Ukraine is tantamount to giving it make-work which is not going to lead anywhere other than an annual statement on the state of human rights in Europe, to be lost amongst the latest football scores. And the fact that Britain might have a real problem does not justify their being able to throw the problem to the wolves.

I would have thought it was obvious to the average human being with a sense of justice that, if the court has a backlog of 150,000 cases, this is proof paramount that domestic rulings are not seen to be reasonable and in line with the convention. This in itself should be reason enough to ensure that national authorities should continue to be subsidiary to the ECHR. Most people would suggest that the solution is not a ‘sundown policy’ of writing off cases after two years, but extra funding so that the court can handle more cases and reduce the backlog. The people who put Cameron and his like in power clearly do not trust them, and it is this he is attacking when he attacks the ECHR.

It is also a matter of concern that this disgraceful suggestion was unanimously agreed to. Once upon a time, when the Council of Europe created the ECHR, there were some courageous thinkers involved, who may or may not themselves have been in positions of power within their own countries, but who, like the founding fathers of the US, could envisage that a time might come when the leaders of countries would again sink to the level of the worst offenders of the 20th century. To protect the general public from the worst excesses of these offenders, these courageous men and women established the ECHR to watch over the principles of human rights, rights which we every day now see under attack.

And now an unscrupulous and disgraceful gang of their inheritors, with Cameron in the vanguard, aware of and ashamed of what they are doing to their own subjects, and not wanting those subjects to have recourse to a higher instance, are moving to take away the authority of the one place where decisions out of tune with the general acceptance of what is right can be corrected.

For shame!

© James Wilde 2015