Sweden Democrats: More heads may roll
Published: 10 Dec 2013 17:45 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Dec 2013 17:45 GMT+01:00
Several more politicians risk being kicked out of the Sweden Democrat party following revelations that they posted xenophobic and insulting messages on various far-right websites.
- 'I hope they starve' post fells Sweden Democrat (10 Dec 13)
“Their actions will not be without consequences,” party secretary Björn Söder told the TT news agency on Tuesday.
Maria Stensby, voted in as an alternate member of the party’s executive board at the recent party conference, resigned on Tuesday morning following confirmation that she had said “I hope they starve to death” in reference to an article about a group of children on hunger strike at an asylum centre.
Stensby was one of eleven Sweden Democrats named by the Expressen daily in a report compiled on information provided by Researchgruppen, a group linked to the far left. The group has collected the details by accessing user information in the Disqus forum discussion tool.
The politicians were shown to have posted various hateful, xenophobic and, according to some legal experts perhaps illegal, messages under aliases on websites such as Avpixlat, Fria Tider and Exponerat - all sites which echo the Sweden Democrat party's negative line on immigration, multicultural society, and the mainstream Swedish media.
According to a report in Aftonbladet earlier in 2013 Avpixlat is funded with the help of Sweden Democrat MP Kent Ekeroth who has been shown to have editorial influence in the site’s content.
Tommy Jonsson, who represents the Sweden Democrats in Ystad in southern Sweden, is reported to have written “what separates human beings from the apes? The Mediterranean” while hiding behind the alias “shejken” (the sheik) on Fria Tider. He is also reported to have written “you can take the negro out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the negro” and made insulting comments about the Roma.
He is furthermore shown to have posed the rhetorical question “was Adolf really wrong?”.
Gerd Wall, who represents the Sweden Democrats in Vadstena municipality in central Sweden, is reported to have written: “there is a good reason why gypsies (sic) are hated in the whole world, we are reminded again and again of how they behave”.
When challenged by Expressen’s reporter to explain their comments Jonsson claimed his posts were a joke and Wall expressed frustration with how Sweden looks today.
Anders Dahlberg, who ran for office for the Sweden Democrats in the church elections earlier this year, was revealed to have called for a relaxation of weapons legislation so that “ethnic Swedes” could arm themselves.
“It is better for us ethnic Swedes to arm ourselves. Preferably with a Glock 17 for us gentlemen and a Glock 19 for the ladies. Then we can defend ourselves against the culture-enrichers,” referring to a common term of derision used ironically in far-right circles to refer to immigrants.
Dahlberg has also used the words "cave dwellers", “negro”, “breeding cows” and “parasites”, while hiding under the alias “Malmoman64", to refer to immigrant groups.
When confronted by Expressen’s reporters over the comments, Dahlberg said that his daughter also uses his computer.
The revelations are the latest in a long litany of indiscretions by local and national Sweden Democrat politicians, which have gained greater prominence since party leader Jimmie Åkesson announced in October 2012 that there is a need to "clean up" the party rank and file after a slew of controversial comments by members, stating that there is no place for racism in the party.
The most high profile victim of the often derided “zero tolerance” policy was MP Erik Almqvist who stepped down in November 2012 as the party's economic policy spokesman over racist statements he made on a film clip which also featured Kent Ekeroth.
Party secretary Björn Söder stated on Tuesday that the policy remained in place and that a consequence of Tuesday’s revelations may be further expulsions from the party.
“From what I’ve seen there are things that are contrary to the party's core values and that violate our ethical guidelines. That is to say that you are never anonymous and that you should be able to stand for what you write. And if you stand for these things, you have no place in the Sweden Democrats,” he said.
High-profile legal professor Mårten Schultz speculated that some of the comments made by the Sweden Democrat representatives could also be illegal and subject to prosecution.
“My guess is that some of them are "hets mot folkgrupp" (hate speech),” he told The Local.
Schultz furthermore cited the law in a tweet on Tuesday.
“Those who write a comment must themselves take responsibility from the content of the comment… comments which constitute a breach of the law can be... liable to prosecution.”
The websites involved all posted defiant messages in response to what they call "opinion registration" with Avpixlat for example promising revenge and warning that Swedish journalists will be given a "taste of their own medicine", an threat which was later removed.
The site's name literally translates as "unpixelated", but is also a Swedish colloquialism meaning to "reveal" or "unmask" and one of the most common recurring themes on the site is publishing photos of suspected criminals of foreign origin.
Expressen played on this in their reporting on Tuesday by pixelating the faces of the politicians involved and whose identities were then revealed when clicked.