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Jul-hadi
December 12, 2010 1:19 AM   Subscribe

Two Explosions in Central Stockholm. A car bomb and apparent suicide bomber.

Saturday afternoon on one of the busiest pedestrian streets in Stockholm more crowded than usual with x-mas shoppers.

Early reports in the Swedish press indicate that a car loaded with gas canisters exploded a number of times. Minutes later, just before 5PM, about 300m away, a man was killed by an apparent explosive device he was carrying. The first witness on the scene said "something exploded against his stomach." One person has been killed and two injured.

The news agency TT "said it had received a threatening e-mail shortly before the blasts, which called for "mujahideen", or Islamist fighters, to rise up in Sweden and Europe."

A polis press conference which ended just a few minutes ago does not add much to this. Polis are however now confirming it as a terrorist attack.
posted by three blind mice (69 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
The bomb blasts took place about 1km from my flat. I am very familiar with the area where they occurred. Drottningatan (Queen Street) is a very busy pedestrian street which is car-free. It seems the car was parked on a cross-street more or less at the intersection with Drottningatan. It would seem the intention was to kill people, but a few things about this make it appear to be an amateurish attack carried out by someone not very familiar with the city. The car bomb was not particularly powerful. The cross-street selected is relatively broad and open. There is little to concentrate the force of the explosion. Moreover, the cross-street is not in the most crowded part of Drottningatan. The Swedish Riksdag is also on Drottningatan, just 1 km from this cross-street, and you can easily drive a car into the center of it. The apparent suicide bomber walked in the wrong direction. He went towards the less crowded parts and away from the nearest tube station.
posted by three blind mice at 1:19 AM on December 12, 2010 [12 favorites]


Pray for peace.
posted by The Lady is a designer at 1:30 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apparently one of the cited justifications for this attack was Swedish support for cartoonist Lars Vilks.
posted by Anything at 1:37 AM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


and one of the un-cited justifications is insanity.

please stay safe TBM
posted by victors at 1:39 AM on December 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


May 11 video and BBC story about Lars Vilks getting attacked while giving a university lecture

Earlier CNN interview
posted by Anything at 1:49 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't pay them any attention. It only encourages them.
posted by alasdair at 1:57 AM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


gah
posted by bardophile at 2:12 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rubber dinghy rapids bro.
posted by Optamystic at 2:44 AM on December 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


why kill the innocent?
posted by janet bin at 2:51 AM on December 12, 2010


"Security is an important foundation of human life and free people do not squander their security, contrary to Bush's claims that we hate freedom. Let him tell us why we did not attack Sweden for example."" - Osama bin Laden
posted by mullingitover at 2:57 AM on December 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


"Security is an important foundation of human life and free people do not squander their security, contrary to Bush's claims that we hate freedom. Let him tell us why we did not attack Sweden for example."" - Osama bin Laden

I think we need to be careful how broadly we interpret the word "we" in the quote above.
posted by doublehappy at 3:00 AM on December 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


A map of central Stockholm showing where the explosions took place. The top cross is the location of the car explosion, the bottom where the 'suicide bomber' was found. As an aside, Konserthuset (the Concert House) is where the Nobel Prize award ceremony took place the day before.
posted by diogenetic at 3:03 AM on December 12, 2010


Terrible, terrible. I pray for the day the one-upsmanship of violence comes to an end. And even sooner I pray for the day when people cease to believe their ideologies are worth killing over.
posted by matt_od at 3:16 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why Sweden is even in Afghanistan is beyond me.
posted by klue at 3:25 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because their ally got attacked by terrorists hosted by people who control parts of Afghanistan.
posted by Anything at 3:34 AM on December 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


I just saw this story on The Local. Apparently no major injuries from either bombing. I feel sorry for the bomber's family. There's no indication that they would support this at all, as he apologized in his note for lying to them about his preparations.

This does seems like a very amateurish attack, reminiscent of others in the U.S. I'm not sure how much can be done to stop this any more than the police can prevent any other random act of violence. But it seems like the difference between something like this and what one reads about in Bagdad is that there they have experienced terrorist organizations that know how to plan and train for such things. A lone suicide bomber (unless they very incompetent) only gets one shot to get it right. So it seems like a strategy that keeps terrorist groups from operating openly and hinders their communication with recruits can go a long way towards mitigating what these attacks can accomplish.

I'm also curious whatever happened with the previous bomb threat in Gothenburg; the police response there was disappointing, to say the least.
posted by serathen at 3:38 AM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why Sweden is even in Afghanistan is beyond me.

Fight them there so we don't have to fight them here. And freedom and other cool stuff.
posted by fire&wings at 3:42 AM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fight them there so we don't have to fight them here. And freedom and other cool stuff.

Or part of the god-knows-why-we-need-to-suck-up-to-the-US-but-lets-do-it-anyway policy.

Seriously though, this sucks. Don't go crazy over it Sweden.
posted by clarknova at 3:53 AM on December 12, 2010


Sweden is in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). ISAF is the UN mandated security force created in 2001 to provide security in and around Kabul. Since falling under NATO command in 2003, the role of ISAF has greatly expanded.

Whilst not a member of NATO, Sweden is fulfilling its obligations under the UN mandate. Sweden's contribution of 500 soldiers is not terribly popular in Sweden, but support of the UN and commitment to foreign aid is what motivates the government's policy:

Sweden is the largest contributor of developmental aid to Afghanistan.

"They have dealt with improved roads, wells and school buildings," wrote Johansson.

The programme has gradually increased its focus on female participation in the decision-making processes at the local and national levels. Part of the aid money will be earmarked to projects that prioritise appointing women on village councils.

posted by three blind mice at 3:58 AM on December 12, 2010 [28 favorites]


This was drawn to my attention yesterday by friends outside of Sweden, didn't see anyone in Sweden commenting it until after midnight which was quite interesting for such a connected population. Drove past there about ten minutes before and again later in the evening but didn't notice anything odd on the way home re. traffic diversions or anything?
Having a hard time having more than a "meh" reaction to this. My greater worry is that people (like the shitstain right wingers voted into government this autumn) will use it to fuel their hatred or justify their politics.
posted by Iteki at 4:00 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"They have dealt with improved roads, wells and school buildings," wrote Johansson.

The programme has gradually increased its focus on female participation in the decision-making processes at the local and national levels. Part of the aid money will be earmarked to projects that prioritise appointing women on village councils.


I.e. freedom and other cool stuff.
posted by Anything at 4:10 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This does seems like a very amateurish attack, reminiscent of others in the U.S. I'm not sure how much can be done to stop this any more than the police can prevent any other random act of violence.

We certainly don't need a trillion-dollar security apparatus to prevent terrorists from killing themselves.
posted by mek at 4:18 AM on December 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Security is an important foundation of human life and free people do not squander their security, contrary to Bush's claims that we hate freedom. Let him tell us why we did not attack Sweden for example." - Osama bin Laden

'They' didn't attack Sweden in 2001 because Sweden wasn't involved in what they see as an imperialist crusade in the Middle East. Then Sweden got involved in the occupation of Afghanistan and opened itself up to attacks.

This attack will almost certainly have been carried out by someone who has lived in Sweden for years, either a Muslim immigrant to the country or a 'native' Swede who has converted to Islam (converts tend to be more hardline). They will have been watching what they perceive as a sustained attack on the Islamic world by Western states that has been going on for decades (or in some readings, centuries) and will have at some point reached a state of anger and alienation that made them feel that they needed to act. Living in Sweden, often put forward - along with the rest of Scandinavia - as the pinnacle of Western civilisation because of its tolerance and freedom, would only amplify their anger.

In the 1970s, Reginald Maudling, the British Home Secretary said that Republican terrorism could "not be defeated, not completely eliminated, but have their violence reduced to an acceptable level." In 2010, there have been 150 shootings or bombings in Northern Ireland (39 on national security targets like police or government buildings), and we are 'at peace'.

I think that the relatively minute number of attacks on Western countries since September 11th 2001 really puts the lie to the 'global battlefield' idea. If we were really facing a radicalised Islamic community that were planning global attacks, we'd have seen a lot more deaths in the last 9 years. Especially in the United States, where mass shootings are so trivial to commit that any 'radical Islamist' could easily get their hands on a weapon and use it in a school, park or shop. I am stunned that this doesn't happen more often in countries involved in Afghanistan or previously in Iraq.

I'm thankful this was such a small bomb, and I hope that rather than triggering increased security and anger against Muslims, it instead provokes questions about Swedish foreign policy.

[on preview: unfortunately, despite the largely good intentions of the Swedish force in Afghanistan, they are tied up with what many see as an irredeemable ally and are tainted by association. I should also note that where I say, 'provokes questions about Swedish foreign policy', this could simply mean a campaign to demonstrate what it is Sweden are doing in Afghanistan - stressing the development side and downplaying the military involvement.]
posted by knapah at 4:22 AM on December 12, 2010 [33 favorites]


My greater worry is that people (like the shitstain right wingers voted into government this autumn) will use it to fuel their hatred or justify their politics.

It's already happened. The secretary of the leader of the shitstain right wingers (aka the Sweden Democrats) posted a Twitter update saying 'is this when you get to say told you so?' Though you probably shouldn't take statements from someone calling herself Parliament Princess too seriously...
posted by diogenetic at 4:31 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Having a hard time having more than a "meh" reaction to this. My greater worry is that people (like the shitstain right wingers voted into government this autumn) will use it to fuel their hatred or justify their politics.

"Shitstain right wingers" will use this to justify their politics because, to be blunt, events like this DO justify their politics. For example, every time a Muslim extremist threatens violence against the West in retaliation for cartoon depicting Mohammed (or some similarly ridiculous pretext), there is almost guaranteed to be some left-wing shithead saying that Westerners are bringing this reaction upon on themselves, we need to be more sensitive to Muslim feelings, such cartoons should be classified as "hate speech" and banned, and so on. Events like this, in the mind of the average person, will show the futility of such an approach and show that such people are beyond reason. Only a coward would argue in favour of banning cartoons that are offensive to Muslim extremists in the wake of a terrorist attack intended to enforce such "respect" through violence. Even those who believe such things will be embarrassed to say so in the aftermath. This is a good thing, and I hope "shitstain" right-wingers capitalize on it to the full extent possible and marginalize the left-wing accomodationist view as much as they can. If Muslim terrorists were committing suicide bombings over the invasion of Iraq or the treatment of Palestinians I might almost be tempted to feel sympathy for them (even if I didn't agree with their actions), but as it is, they are almost comical villains trying to commit murder for on nuttiest of religious pretexts. It sounds like this idiot didn't kill anyone but himself, so scrape his guts off the pavement and move on. Fuck him, I'm glad he's dead.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 5:14 AM on December 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


Well I for one think it was pretty obvious this was the work of Mossad, pretending to be Al-Qaeda so that Americans can steal oil from Stanistan.
posted by dougrayrankin at 5:37 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well I for one think it was pretty obvious this was the work of Mossad, pretending to be Al-Qaeda so that Americans can steal oil from Stanistan.

Nothing would surprise me any more. Australia's worst home-soil terrorist attack was by its own spy agency, and that was over 30 years ago. /admittedly, it was a fuck up - the garbos just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time.

shitstain right wingers

Come come. Such intolerance.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:54 AM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think that the relatively minute number of attacks on Western countries since September 11th 2001 really puts the lie to the 'global battlefield' idea. If we were really facing a radicalised Islamic community that were planning global attacks, we'd have seen a lot more deaths in the last 9 years. Especially in the United States, where mass shootings are so trivial to commit that any 'radical Islamist' could easily get their hands on a weapon and use it in a school, park or shop. I am stunned that this doesn't happen more often in countries involved in Afghanistan or previously in Iraq.

I'm tempted to pay $5 for a new account just to favorite this again. Al Queda has staged a small number of skilled, successful attacks that warrant serious concern. But what we've seen far more of in the past ten years are minor incidents that amount to little more than sound and fury, executed by isolated, incompetent groups whose main news draw is their association with the word "Muslim." I don't doubt many of the perpetrators believe themselves to be part of a dangerous global terror network... what I wonder is why the rest of us do
posted by crayz at 6:00 AM on December 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


I think that the relatively minute number of attacks on Western countries since September 11th 2001 really puts the lie to the 'global battlefield' idea. If we were really facing a radicalised Islamic community that were planning global attacks, we'd have seen a lot more deaths in the last 9 years.

Couldn't it equally be said that this is proof that the War on Tuhr is working? Your theory is like the joke about the tiger repellent, but in reverse.

/not saying you're wrong, but I am asking: "why so smug?"
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:10 AM on December 12, 2010


Couldn't it equally be said that this is proof that the War on Tuhr is working? Your theory is like the joke about the tiger repellent, but in reverse.

You're right, it could be said that it's the GWOT working, but that argument actually IS the tiger repellent joke. The ease with which a 'terror' attack could be executed is the issue for me, I could walk out of my house with a kitchen knife and start slashing people in the street and shouting 'Allahu Akbar' and nothing the US or its allies do in the war on terrorism is going to be able to stop or deter me. Despite this, 'terror attacks' happen incredibly rarely.

Following on from LP Hatecraft, as a left-wing shithead accommodationist, considering what has been done in our (Western democracies) name, we're fucking lucky not to be dealing with this kind of thing on a daily basis.
posted by knapah at 6:28 AM on December 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


a car loaded with gas canisters exploded a number of times

It sounds like what happened is basically a fizzled bomb, made by people who got their bomb making ideas from films. The detonator failed to actually detonate the canisters (they're designed not to explode easily) based on the explosions happening a number of times, I'd guess that the detonator started a fire which eventually caused the burst reliefs on the gas cylinders to pop leading to a series of flare-ups every time as the gas rushed out. Most gases only explode if you mix them with air before igniting them (a fuel air bomb) otherwise you just get a nasty fire.
posted by atrazine at 6:29 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're right, it could be said that it's the GWOT working, but that argument actually IS the tiger repellent joke.

Ed Zackery.

And where my analogy falls down is we're not sure how many tigers there are and where they might strike and if it's worth the effort. The joke was funny coz the conversation happened in a tiger free area. A green zone, if you will!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:37 AM on December 12, 2010


Pray for peace.

It's pretty obvious that praying does nothing. How about work for peace?
posted by Huck500 at 6:40 AM on December 12, 2010 [22 favorites]


"Shitstain right wingers" will use this to justify their politics because, to be blunt, events like this DO justify their politics.

Would I be justified in extrapolating from the actions of Peter Mangs - the alleged gunman who targeted immigrants in Malmö earlier this year, and as Swedish as smörgåsbord - that ethnic Swedes have become a dangerous element in Swedish society and should be dealt with? Mangs happens to be related to a famous revue artist popular in the forties and fifties - maybe we should try banning Swedish theatre and music. Swedish culture is obviously fundamentally violent and anathema to Swedish society.
posted by diogenetic at 7:06 AM on December 12, 2010 [12 favorites]


You're right, it could be said that it's the GWOT working, but that argument actually IS the tiger repellent joke. The ease with which a 'terror' attack could be executed is the issue for me, I could walk out of my house with a kitchen knife and start slashing people in the street and shouting 'Allahu Akbar' and nothing the US or its allies do in the war on terrorism is going to be able to stop or deter me. Despite this, 'terror attacks' happen incredibly rarely.

I'd say that something like a large-scale attack taking out a major landmark in Manhattan takes a fair amount of planning and resources. Amateurish attacks not linked to any major base for training or funding are easy, and that's exactly what we see now that Al Qaida (or at least the original Al Qaida) has been scattered and pulverized. Why don't we see tons and tons of little attacks? Because, contrary to what certain politicians are using these events to imply, the number of global Muslims with a true terrorist mentality is very, very tiny. The small number that do exist can only make a big impact when they are able to plan and stage a coordinated operation, which they apparently cannot now that Afghanistan is no longer the safe haven it once was.

So yeah, I do think the war in Afghanistan has had an effect, and I don't see a rational basis for believing otherwise. We know they had major training centers there which were used for the September 11 attacks, and we know we've destroyed those. Same for funding networks to a large extent. It seems logical that if those still existed, they would have been used again. War may be Hell, but it does seem like the natural response to a major attack on downtown New York by an implicitly state-sponsored Afghanistan fighting force.
posted by Xezlec at 7:34 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


sadly, if your country is involved in creepy shit that you, yourself would condem in the harshest words, well you won't be considered innocent by someone who talks through bombs in the street. So forget asking why kill innocents when they would reply: "look what you didn't stop your polititions from doing to our counrty" Bombs are gereralizations that remove all humanity from the equation. All battles should be fought with swords and shields.
posted by Redhush at 7:34 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is just incredibly sad, but I'm still holding out hope that Sweden will respond to this with the kind of restraint and logical approach that they are generally known for.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:28 AM on December 12, 2010


diogenetic: Would I be justified in extrapolating from the actions of Peter Mangs - the alleged gunman who targeted immigrants in Malmö earlier this year, and as Swedish as smörgåsbord...

The Finnish papers have been reporting that his father is a Finn (of the swedish speaking minority) who immigrated to Sweden...
posted by severiina at 8:37 AM on December 12, 2010


Though you probably shouldn't take statements from someone calling herself Parliament Princess too seriously...

Unfortunately, apart from the Parliament Princess, the Swedish Democrats, who won 20 seats in the last election, are very much to be taken seriously. As are many right-wing political parties in Europe with similar philosophies, e.g., Switzerland, Denmark, Austria, the UK, etc., etc.
posted by blucevalo at 9:13 AM on December 12, 2010


I was under the impression that his Finnish ancestry lay further back than that, but I haven't been able to find the info on that, so you're probably right. Call it slight hyperbole on my part - although in a lot of respects, the cultural differences between Swedes and Finns aren't that big.
posted by diogenetic at 9:14 AM on December 12, 2010


"Shitstain right wingers" will use this to justify their politics because, to be blunt, events like this DO justify their politics.

No. Events like this are a pretext for fomenting and implementing their pre-existing politics -- not a justification. And their overreactions are exactly what marginal and marginalized Muslim extremists who commit violence dream of and count on occurring -- and is exactly why their attacks continue.
posted by blucevalo at 9:19 AM on December 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


SvD is reporting that the bomber came to Sweden with his family in the early 1990s from Iraq.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 9:20 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shhhh everybody, just ignore the troll.
posted by beerbajay at 10:15 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sort of wondering why everyone is still so upset about this whole terrorism thing. Almost ten years out from 9/11 the only damage done by so-called-terrorists has been a handful of small scale bombings carried out by extremists with comparatively few civilian casualties.
posted by empatterson at 10:19 AM on December 12, 2010


Redhush: Bombs are gereralizations that remove all humanity from the equation. All battles should be fought with swords and shields.

Historically, it didn't really seem to help. Consider the mongols, for instance.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:28 AM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm sort of wondering why everyone is still so upset about this whole terrorism thing.

Because people die. Murder is bad.

It's the same reason people get upset about the whole serial killer thing. Yes, most people are murdered by someone they know, but when people are murdered by strangers in order to please the voices in their heads, it gets people pretty goddamned upset, and for good reason.

That said, I do think that most public policy and security responses to terrorism in the industrialized world wouldn't be effective against the Circus Clowns' Liberation Front.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:56 AM on December 12, 2010


Also, what?

Almost ten years out from 9/11 the only damage done by so-called-terrorists has been a handful of small scale bombings carried out by extremists with comparatively few civilian casualties.

I don't understand how you're getting "comparatively few" unless you are ruling out the many thousands of civilian deaths from terrorist actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia.

And then there are the terrorists who are not jihadists, who are responsible for thousands of civilian deaths in Colombia and hundreds of civilian deaths in Sri Lanka and Nepal...
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:04 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also: 'so-called'.
posted by Anything at 11:06 AM on December 12, 2010


Shhhh everybody, just ignore the troll.

Which one? Seems like a pretty good discussion to me.
posted by msalt at 11:09 AM on December 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Apologies I am sure to those who felt disparaged by "shitstain right-wingers". I should specify that I was referring to a) the xeno- and islamophobic party Swedish Democrats, b) the people who voted them into government in the recent election, and not least c) the assholes who were too inhibited to vote for them last time, but will now feel that between the party actually being in goverment now and the presence of omgterristmuslems!!! they are justified in voting for them next time. It didn't occur to me that any mefites would self-identify.

It's also terribly irritating to watch the Swedish media practically rubbing their nipples over this, all over excited and meta-reporting how much coverage this is getting abroad. Bomb in a teacup, some poor mad fucker who just wanted an excuse to kill himself is my guess.
His carbomb didn't even set off the alarm of the car parked a foot in front of him.
posted by Iteki at 11:12 AM on December 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sidhedevil: it's only terrorism when white people die.
posted by Iteki at 11:14 AM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


It sounds like several people here already have a good understanding of who it is that commits acts like this, but I this lecture (which I found via this mefi comment) really demonstrates the lack of central organization and competence of the Islamic Jihadists. It also suggests that the danger from those folks is greater in Europe than it is in the States. Great stuff.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:15 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sweden is in the midst of a national debate about whether admitting so many refugees from the Muslim world was a mistake, and whether donating so much money for development in those same countries has actually produced any good will at all. Now there comes along a group of people intent on proving that, yes, letting Iraqis and Somalis move to your country and giving them government housing and language training was a mistake, and no, your millions in development aid has bought you nothing, not even a molecule of good faith. The takeaway is that those Sweden is trying to help will murder innocent Swedes over nothing, an ink drawing on paper done by one man.

I remember last year the Israel-Sweden match in Malmo had to be held behind locked gates, because there were violent anti-Israel protests. Well, as an Israeli citizen, allow me to say: Welcome to the party, guys. Those protests weren't just about Israel, they were about your country, too. You'll find that moral clarity is a lot harder to achieve when your own citizens are trying to murder Christmas holiday shoppers over a perceived insult in a newspaper.
posted by 1adam12 at 11:21 AM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


1adam12: "Sweden is in the midst of a national debate about whether admitting so many refugees from the Muslim world was a mistake, and whether donating so much money for development in those same countries has actually produced any good will at all. Now there comes along a group of people intent on proving that, yes, letting Iraqis and Somalis move to your country and giving them government housing and language training was a mistake, and no, your millions in development aid has bought you nothing, not even a molecule of good faith. The takeaway is that those Sweden is trying to help will murder innocent Swedes over nothing, an ink drawing on paper done by one man."

I would hope that reasonable Swedes would not take the actions of this one person, or a few people, to mean that it was a mistake to show compassion for and open the doors to entire nationalities.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:24 AM on December 12, 2010


Welcome to the party, guys.

1adam12, I know many Iraqi refugees in this country who are hard-working, decent people displaced by a war that they had nothing to do with. I am happy and proud to see my tax dollars offering them succor.

I fully trust that this unfortunate incident will not cause Sweden to dehumanize an entire race of people because of the actions of one, or a few.

That party, dear friend, is yours alone.
posted by three blind mice at 11:37 AM on December 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


A group of people? You know more than the authorities here then (which wouldn't be hard). Excuse me please while I continue to judge individuals on their actions, and not the actions of some guy who looks vaguely like them. Ftr, bomb threats are part of my christmas tradition, and I still won't come to your party.
posted by Iteki at 11:43 AM on December 12, 2010


Sidhedevil: While I'm not going to say that the situations you cite are somehow OK (because I'm not, you know, some kind of fucking sociopath) but I'm not sure that the label terrorism applies.

I'm sure if we gave them nice uniforms and bombers and tanks and such they'd blow the hell out of the other side, civilians included, in the same organized fashion the first world countries were doing for most of the 20th century. If Donald Rumsfeld taught us anything it was that you go to your horrible fucked-up genocidal civil war with the improvised explosive device you have, not the strategic bomber wing you want.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:48 AM on December 12, 2010


Just out of curiosity, if you believe this justifies a protracted campaign of global bruhaha against all Muslims everywhere, what do you believe the behavior of Timothy McVeigh suggests we do with the people who share aspects of his belief system?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:55 AM on December 12, 2010


Why Sweden is even in Afghanistan is beyond me.

Uh, guys? Sweden's in Scandinavia.
posted by doublehappy at 12:05 PM on December 12, 2010 [14 favorites]


Almost ten years out from 9/11 the only damage done by so-called-terrorists has been a handful of small scale bombings carried out by extremists with comparatively few civilian casualties.

Tell that to Madrid and London. No, the deaths weren't in the thousands, but those are pretty high impact bombings. There were also both the subway bombings and the shootings in Mumbai.
posted by maryr at 12:46 PM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


maybe we should try banning Swedish theatre and music. Swedish culture is obviously fundamentally violent and anathema to Swedish society.

Nooooooo. Vintersorg is supposed to release his new album next year...
posted by spinifex23 at 1:49 PM on December 12, 2010


Sidhedevil: While I'm not going to say that the situations you cite are somehow OK (because I'm not, you know, some kind of fucking sociopath) but I'm not sure that the label terrorism applies.

I think that suicide bombings, shooting up schools full of kids, blowing up places of worship, bombing public transportation, and so forth are pretty much flat-out terrorism no matter how you slice it. When I'm talking about thousands of deaths from terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan and Somalia, I'm not talking about the deaths that resulted from gun battles between armed militias (which I agree with you is better described as "war"), I'm talking about the above. Similarly Colombia, Sri Lanka, Nepal.

People track this stuff. It's still terrorism if it doesn't happen in North America or Europe.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:13 PM on December 12, 2010


Christ. I can only think of one thing that is a useful counter-terrorism and that's public information warfare. We're in the age of decentralized power, where information is the dominant force. Wikileaks and Anonymous are the most recent example. Anonymous has a similar organization structure as Al Qaeda.

It's time to use the methods of /b/tards everywhere for counter-terrorism. It's time to meme it up. Throw down tons of ads in arabic media about how the terrorists are a bunch of basement-dwelling losers, and if you're a family member of basement dwelling losers, to actively console them and try to help them out. Advertise non-profit call-in hotlines for would-be terrorists for dating tips. Associate among popular media that terrorists are just a bunch of losers that can't get a date. "LOL U MAD?" "FOREVER ALONE". $10 million would probably work a lot better than a billiion dollars in smart bombs.
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:38 PM on December 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Almost ten years out from 9/11 the only damage done by so-called-terrorists has been a handful of small scale bombings carried out by extremists with comparatively few civilian casualties.

There are documented killings all over the world on a weekly basis done in the name of ideological religious extremism, namely radical Islam. They may happen at a death rate of 5-10 at a time, but if you add up the numbers, it's an epidemic.

People track this stuff. It's still terrorism if it doesn't happen in North America or Europe.

It bears repeating, because of how often Westerners forget this.
posted by critzer at 4:23 PM on December 12, 2010


There are documented killings all over the world on a weekly basis done in the name of ideological religious extremism, namely radical Islam. They may happen at a death rate of 5-10 at a time, but if you add up the numbers, it's an epidemic.

Yeah, I'm gonna need some numbers on that.

Because I wouldn't put those numbers, globally, at "epidemic" levels. Especially for radical Islam.
posted by Amanojaku at 9:51 PM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


You two middle links are using an extremely broad definition of terrorism, Amanojaku. In particular, almost any form of hate crime, as well as many other things, would be considered terrorism under that FBI definition. Yeah sure, that fits your refutation of critzer just fine, as doing so only increases the body count, but Islam still hold a massive 'lead' on the other religions, philosophies, etc. for real terrorism.. you know the kind that kills people. Your other two links links may in-fact qualify as localized 'epidemics', although the last one is already over.

There is not afaik any world wide 'epidemic' of terrorism as critzer claimed, just the same old political conflicts we've always had. We might have more marginalized groups targeting civilians largely because they're easy targets, but that's usually less harmful than full blown conflicts. There are however two newish trends :

(1) Powerful economic interests are now justifying their activities as opposing terrorism instead of communism. We can only address this through greater transparency in corporations and government.

(2) Islamic religious interests are reacting violently to western speech. We've had many problems with christianity restricting speech over numerous centuries too, but Islam's is currently behaving much much worse. Again, our best solution is simply much more speech, more criticism of Islam in particular.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:05 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


You two middle links are using an extremely broad definition of terrorism, Amanojaku. In particular, almost any form of hate crime, as well as many other things, would be considered terrorism under that FBI definition. Yeah sure, that fits your refutation of critzer just fine, as doing so only increases the body count, but Islam still hold a massive 'lead' on the other religions, philosophies, etc. for real terrorism.. you know the kind that kills people.

The FBI lists the terrorist acts by event. Specifically: "Bombing, Arson, Malicious Destruction, Shooting, Hostile Takeover, Robbery, Assault, Hijacking, Kidnapping, Rocket, Assassination, WMD." How do those not count as "real" terrorism?

Your other two links links may in-fact qualify as localized 'epidemics', although the last one is already over.

From 1968 through 9/11, 13,999 people have been killed by terrorism worldwide. That's 425 people a year, on average. Not to diminish the loss of those lives, but there are more people murdered annually in New York City than are killed by terrorism in the entire world.

I'd be hard pressed to categorize that as an epidemic, localized or not.
posted by Amanojaku at 12:28 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


On further reflection, I kind of regret posting that. I realize the thread is all but done, but it feels like a derail to me.
posted by Amanojaku at 12:56 PM on December 13, 2010


It's time to use the methods of /b/tards everywhere for counter-terrorism. It's time to meme it up. Throw down tons of ads in arabic media about how the terrorists are a bunch of basement-dwelling losers, and if you're a family member of basement dwelling losers, to actively console them and try to help them out. Advertise non-profit call-in hotlines for would-be terrorists for dating tips. Associate among popular media that terrorists are just a bunch of losers that can't get a date. "LOL U MAD?" "FOREVER ALONE". $10 million would probably work a lot better than a billiion dollars in smart bombs.
Wat's dat? I brow up, I ruse?
posted by dougrayrankin at 2:29 PM on December 13, 2010


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