Trump invents Sweden Terror Attack, Lies about Immigrant Crime

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Trump made up another alleged terrorist attack at his rally on Saturday, this one about a figment of his imagination that did not actually take place in Sweden on Friday night.

It is clear that Trump and his white supremacist mafia (Steve Bannon et al.) despise Sweden and Germany for having taken in more than their fair of refugees since the crisis began. Trump and his henchmen see refugees and immigrants as inherently dangerous.


This allegation is not true. In fact, in some places immigrants appear actually to cause the local crime rate to fall! A scientific study of crime and immigration in Canada found that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than the native-born. Haimin Zhang of the University of British Columbia writes,

not only do immigrants themselves commit less crimes, they can reduce the crime rates in the long run through channels such as changing the neighbourhood characteristics or impacting the behaviour of natives.”

The same effect can be seen in the United States. Walter Ewing and his colleagues point out,

“Between 1990 and 2013, the foreign-born share of the U.S. population grew from 7.9 percent to 13.1 percent and the number of unauthorized immigrants more than tripled from 3.5 million to 11.2 million. During the same period, FBI data indicate that the violent crime rate declined 48 percent -—which included falling rates of aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder. Likewise, the property crime rate fell 41 percent, including declining rates of motor vehicle theft, larceny/robbery, and burglary. According to an original analysis of data from the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the authors of this report, roughly 1.6 percent of immigrant males age 18-39 are incarcerated, compared to 3.3 percent of the native-born. This disparity in incarceration rates has existed for decades.”

In countries where this effect cannot be seen, i.e. where immigrants do not reduce the crime rate, it is because of the class of immigrants admitted. The US mostly lets in fairly high-skilled immigrants. As for the undocumented, who tend to do menial labor, they are careful not to commit crimes on the whole because they don’t want to be sent back. A tiny number of gang members who are confident that their gang will bring them back if they are deported casts a shadow over millions of people. But only because we let the far right dominate this discourse.

Ironically, it is precisely people like Donald Trump’s grandfather Frederick who are responsible for some minor problems in Sweden. Frederick at least allowed prostitution in his gold rush hotels, and indeed the prospect of a crackdown on that trade along with other law enforcement actions caused him to try to go back to Germany (the German government did not want him).

Moreover, it should be noted that a lot of the refugees taken in by Sweden are from Afghanistan and Iraq. That is, they are fleeing conditions created by the United States in their countries. So actually it should have been the US who took them, not Sweden. The United States is responsible for the displacement of 4 million Iraqis out of 32 million, or over 12% of the population. The US did not displace all of them directly, but its invasion, overthrow of the government, and abolition of the army did lead to these millions losing their homes and being forced to try to find some other place to live. This would be like 40 million Americans being made homeless, a little more than the combined population of Texas and Georgia.

As for Europe, since all human populations have a certain crime rate, if you let in more people, you are letting in more crime. But the real question is relative. Compared to how many people you let in, is the crime rate out of the ordinary? We have seen that in Canada and the US, it is lower than ordinary.

In Germany, Heather Horn of The Atlantic points out, “Although the number of refugees in the country increased by 440 percent between 2014 and 2015, the number of crimes committed by refugees only increased by 79 percent. (The number of crimes against refugees increased as well.)” Sexual offenses are less than 1%, despite the wild allegations of the far right.

As for refugee rape in Sweden, Doug Saunders at the Globe and Mail quoted an actual academic who actually studies these things: ““What we’re hearing is a very, very extreme exaggeration based on a few isolated events, and the claim that it’s related to immigration is more or less not true at all,” says Jerzy Sarnecki, a criminologist at Stockholm University who has devoted his career to the study of criminality, ethnicity and age.”

Swedes are extremely feminist and define all sorts of things as rape (taking off a condom during sex without informing one’s partner e.g.) as rape that would not be considered rape in other countries.

To any extent that refugees in Sweden commit petty crime, they do so at the same rate as other people of their social class. A study cited by Saunders shows that 75% of the difference between native and foreign-born crime rates is accounted for by where people live and how much they make. He adds, “Among the Swedish-born children of immigrants, the crime rate falls in half (and is almost entirely concentrated in lesser property crimes) and is 100-per-cent attributable to class – they are no more likely to commit crimes, including rape, than ethnic Swedes of the same family income.” Saunders also points out that where rapes do occur, the victims also tend to be immigrants, so the lurid picture painted by Neonazis and Islamophobes of white women assaulted by brown men is a fiction.

In fact, a widely reported, premeditated gang rape in Germany attributed to Muslim immigrants never happened. I wrote Friday, ” There was, for instance, the fake news about the alleged Muslim immigrant mass rapes in Cologne a little over a year ago. Breitbart beat the drums for it, but the the story was not true. Or then there was the phony story about Muslims burning a church in Germany, also played up by Breitbart and also not true. Trump is deeply influenced by Bannon’s insane conspiracy theories; if you want to know why he keeps saying false and/or unbalanced things, consider that he gets his news from alt-Neonazi toilet paper like Breitbart.”

47 Responses

  1. It is the ultimate sign of ignorance and arrogance for a president to think his powers are unchecked. The deep state has already begun clipping his wings, starting with Flynn. It is obvious this administration is completely infiltrated by foreign agents. As their patriotic responsibility demands, U.S. intelligence community and military has no option but to purge the nation of this curse that has befallen us.

  2. Trump is a symptom, not a cause. He’s like a rash warning of something seriously wrong, similar perhaps to Didius Julianus who purchased the Roman throne (163 AD) and enjoyed it for a two months and a couple of days before coming to a sticky end. According to Cassius Dio he was regarded by the people as an insult to Rome and they shouted abuse and hurled stones at him. What may be salutary is that he was succeeded by a military dictatorship, and a successful one at that.

    • Didius was princeps from March 28-June 1, AD 193. I prefer the analogy of Julius Caesar, who managed to exploit a political system that had become so corrupt and had so violated its own constitutional norms that a simple push sent the whole edifice careening ultimately into the hands of autocracy. Incidentally, Caesar was known for nothing if not his transgression of political norms.

    • Which just happened to include billions of dollars worth of indirect subvention via media coverage, to the detriment of other candidates. Would we be happier with the term “gifted”?

    • I you call the Electoral College democratic. Losing by 2.8 million votes and winning the office doesn’t seem very democratic to me. Is there any other office in the US where you can get more votes and lose? I don’t know of any.

  3. This man makes it up as he goes along. He has no fear about lying and getting caught doing it. He knows his supporters are not smart enough to research and find out the truth. They have drunk too much of the koolaid and will believe anything he or his administration says. Politicians lie, but Trump’s whoppers are frequent, bold, and the rest of the world knows it. It is embarrassing to have such man who has no principles, honesty, and credibility, be leader of the US. I have travelled to many nations recently, and most people ask me how Americans could vote for this man, he is looked upon as a joke, or dangerous.

    • Just keep in mind who’s really at the helm, and what’s not being told of those actions!

  4. Juan my question to you is how can any of us get to the average Trump supporter who is 100% fox news listener and watcher and who drinks the Kool Aid of such wild exaggerations?

    How can we and the rest of the media get to them to show them that this is nothing more than pure propaganda?

    • if you are talking about fixing the thinking of some amorphous mass of “others” who have wrong values and beliefs, good luck with that.
      but if you intend to help individuals you know and come into contact with to open their eyes to how you view the world,
      let them catch you picking up trash around the neighborhood,
      or bringing a meal to a neighbor family with 8 kids,
      or helping out when a neighbor family has a crisis.

      That will make them ask, “that person is an ordinary schlub like me. Why the heck are they doing good things, with no possibility of reward ?
      What is in their heart that compels them to do good for others ?”

      At first they’ll write you off as not sensible. But if this becomes a pattern, and if you appear to be happy to do this stuff, they are going to want to know what makes you tick.
      THEN you pounce.
      Share your values in invitation, not through browbeating.
      You might be thinking that I’m talking about effective methods of religious proselytization, and I am, because this is, in the larger sense, about values and beliefs.

    • I am deeply pessimistic about this, because I think the average Trump supporter will never be satisfied by anything less than the guarantee of a White monopoly on power. Remove Trump, and this sort will search out any other means to obtain that. The trend line from Reagan to W to Trump shows that. They will support a dictator one day and secession the next. Police state one day and militia anarchy the next. Fascist economics one day and unfettered private rights to discriminate the next. Disenfranchisement one day and ethnic cleansing the next.

      You can’t get to them by debunking those justifications, because they’re just tools to get at something they refuse to admit they want. They want it so bad that they will absorb some unknown amount of real harm in the belief that things will magically get better one day when “those people are put back in their place.”

      Now, how many out there are like this? If it’s large, then we have only the options of a credible threat of race revolution, or enduring a multi-generational evil held in place by rigged elections. If it’s small, then you are instead peeling off Trump supporters who care that America is clearly being impoverished by the advancement of more progressive countries. But that takes time. People soaked deeply in the cult of American exceptionalism will not be moved by comparisons to historical tyranny.

      • My own opinion is that the die hard Trump supporters number maybe one third of the electorate. He has another 8 to 10-% that can swing his way depending on the situation. He got 46% of the vote and that was inflated by about 2.5% points because of the Comey letter.For example, he got almost all Republican votes, many holding their nose because they couldn’t stand the idea of Clinton winning and appointing a liberal to the Supreme Court. There are a lot of independents who lean right and with things like the email propaganda and the Comey letter, voted for Trump because they ignored the warning signs and figured he was the lesser of two evils. Trump’s favorability rating is now 38%. Bush got down to the mid to upper 20’s by the time he left office, so i think Trump could get down as low as the low 30’s within this year, depending on developments. On the effect of the Comey letter, see link to

      • I think you’re on to something, and it is something that has been on my mind for a while now.
        I think we’re looking at this in the wrong way.
        Yes, there are elements of fascism in Trumpism, but, as you stated, I think there is also an element of anarchy – an anarchy that could partially explain the obsession with Russia by the Trumpists, with its roots being in 19th century Russian anarchism/socialism.
        Let’s call this “anarcho-fascist Trumpism.”
        Of course Trump doesn’t have the intellect to formulate or interpret any of this, but I think someone in his sphere is quite enamored of Russian history vis-a-vis the methods of revolutionary transformation.

        Trumpism as a “People’s Will” movement, more concerned with nihilism and chaos than with any coherent political ideology. Instead of the two-headed Goebbels, Bannon and Miller are more aligned with a Bakunin and/or a Nechaev.

        The former pushing an economically neoliberal populism, while the latter a socialistic populism – both of which were doomed to failure because of their authoritarian underpinnings.

        Obviously, this is not a perfect comparison, and I only offer it as a starting point in the alternative to the “Trumpism as Nazism” premise.

        It’s late Sunday night, and I’m a bit punchy, so feel free to dismiss or just laugh off.
        I’ll probably do the same in the a.m…LOL

        • The Bolsheviks invented agit/prop. Trump’s a master of it. Agit/prop uses symbols, slogans, pictures and other short communication means to reach people. The most effective example was the Bolshevik slogan “Bread. Land. Peace” which helped mobilize the massive outpourings during the October Revolution. Trump’s is not so elegant: “Lock her up” “Build the Wall” etc. Twitter is agit/prop DEFINED.

    • Well, you can share articles like this on Facebook if you have any right wing Facebook friends. You can also bookmark this story and then copy and paste the URL in replies to right wingers who comment elsewhere. It is not a panacea, but constant refutation of lies cannot hurt.

    • They are of a different intellect. They are angry, racist, and brainwashed by Limbaugh, Hannity, and Ted Nugent. They will believe anything as long as it is against the “liberals” who in their minds has destroyed the nation. Ironic they cannot see it happening right now.

  5. Until the truth is to be known about what’s really going on with our U.S. tragedies and war the lies will continue to breed fear. Fear overrides rational thinking.

    My Italian grandma sometimes would recall how in her early days in America no one wanted the Italians. She would say, how some Italian gangster in Chicago kills another gangster, and then theses Americans say how all we Italians are bad…that’s how America thinks of us, we all gangsters. This stereotyping wasn’t confined to only the Italians.

    More than likely if your ancestors immigrated here to America, they weren’t very much wanted here when they first arrived.

    JFK’s 6/10/63 American University speech spoke to this in some regard…..

    “So, let us not be blind to our differences–but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

    • Here is a great bumper-sticker based on your satire.

      Sweden + Blowing Green = Never Forget

      It would sell like crazy at WAL•MART and in wide-screen church parking lots.

      • Geez, your implied denigration of people who shop at WalMart and mega-churchgoers is bigoted and offensive.

        • “your implied denigration of people who shop at WalMart and mega-churchgoers is bigoted and offensive.” Not implied and statistically very correct.

          Care to refute?

  6. for the lazy reader,
    at least some hint of what Trump actually said would have been helpful.

  7. Thanks so much for this information, which I will gladly share. BTW, on Huffington Post today is a story about this which also includes the favorability rating of Trump in other countries. 92% of Swedes had an unfavorable opinion of him even before this. Trump’s best rating was 40% unfavorable, 22% favorable (I think that was Hungary) with his unapproval way up there in most countries (96% unfavorable in Canada). Showing once again how most other publics are smarter than the American public. As H.L. Mencken once said, no one ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

    • As H.L. Mencken once said, no one ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

      Another adage worth pondering is the one about a nation getting the kind of government it deserves. There are individuals that can rightly claim they deserve better but not the composite American.

      • A favorite quote, very appropriate. – “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” H. L. Mencken

        link to

  8. With a couple exceptions America has generally been hostile to immigrants with the “Yellow Peril” of the late 19th Century being one of the more notorious and cruel.

    The exceptions include, according to a Texas school textbook, the “workers” imported from Africa and the “poor and tired huddled masses” to help keep wages depressed.

    The Americans that got it right when they claimed immigrants would bring disaster were the Native Americas who understandably didn’t like the aggressive behavior of settlers moving into their nations.

    • Someone recently pointed out that a nation of settlers is not the same as a nation of immigrants. Settlers come to conquer and impose their values on all who live there. Then they turn around and claim immigrants want to do the same, but they’re wrong. The immigrants want at most a share of power. But even that is an abomination to the settler mentality of absolutism.

  9. Another day, another lie. But again, none of this matters to his base. That’s the most disheartening and yet fascinating part of it all. I really would love to see a social scientists investigate more deeply why so many Trump supporters remain unshakably loyal despite what the man says – and does. It’s not hard to understand why the GOP establishment in Washington sticks with him. As long as he signs bills they pass, everything will be peachy keen. The likes of Ryan & McConnell are politically amoral – I’m being kind – so it matters little whether Trump’s recorded talking about “pussy grabbing” or attacking the media as “the enemy.” But those millions of regular folks who aren’t part of the DC gravy train – c’mon people; wake the hell up and start paying attention. Yet they remain in line, egging him on. Boy, this one is a head scratcher. Are we so divided into tribes that facts just don’t any longer matter?

    • My opinion, unsupported by any data, but I believe it nonetheless — Trump’s hardcore supporters have been feeding on a diet of hatred for “liberals,” “the Democrat party,” intellectuals, the media, etc. (all euphemisms for Jews) for over 20 years now via Fox and Limbaugh. It’s been engraved pretty deeply at this point.

      They don’t know, understand, or even care what Trump is actually doing. As long as he’s driving us crazy, it must be good. They love Trump because they hate us.

  10. If you are fortunate enough to live in a district where your rep starts the Townhall with “this is what resistance” looks like then keep pushing your locality to protect your values… or go to th neighboring townhall and demand a voice… this is a large enough movement to be sustainable. Stay smart. Stay safe. Keep talking. Not anonymous posts. Engage at the post office… the grocery store.. the bank… clean off graffiti…where a hijab… do not be silenced….

  11. With so many posts above wondering, once again, How Oh How did we let a bunch of Yahoos take over….???

    The answer, not to put too fine a point on it, is the best alternative that could be burped-up was HRC.

    We can and should shoot a messenger who, having made his point, takes over (not a perfect analogy, but you get the point.)

    What needs to happen now is not just to stop Trump/Bannon, but come up with a real alternative, and the DNC has still shown NO sign that it even gets what just happened.

    I’m interested in genuinely new leadership. The stakes are now such that some relative unknown with the right vision and skills might step up. Whoever steps up will find people, other than from the status quo, ready to support them in a way that can lead to success.

    For every time someone emerges. Let’s just hope the Trump/Bannon vision doesn’t represent our collective destiny.

  12. PS….Look at the actual numbers.

    Even with Clinton, a tiny bit more involvement would’ve made all the difference.

    But, the fact is that she was evidently not up to what the US needs.

    With the right person and platform, the Yahoos and their currently loud voice will fade into the background. They simply have to be acknowledged and included in that new vision.

  13. Donald Trump has, and continues, to aid and abet an immigrant to evade the proper protocols for obtaining residency and citizenship in the United States of America. His wife purportedly supplied false and misleading information to Federal immigration authorities to obtain said residency and citizenship. Not one single person should be deported from this country prior to this issue being addressed by Congress and resolved.

  14. That’s really the whole issue isn’t it? All those Trump supporters. Maybe not a majority of US adults, but perhaps 40% or so. That’s enough to keep the whole neo-Nazi project alive and well until Reichstag Fire time comes.

    And yes, they are not just an amorphous group or stupid people or deplorables. In fact, as far as I can tell there weren’t too many “working class” voters for Trump despite all that media stuff about it. They seem to be professionals and business owners. I know a few and they are in pretty good financial shape, for the moment anyway.

    So the question is: will events and decency and reason move them from their support of Trump? And I think the answer is a big NO.

    Here’s why…it’s an anecdote. From today. The short version.

    So I live in a small town in the Southwest. Votes Democratic, mostly. And so does the county. But get a little further out and there are plenty of solid Republican areas. There are ranchers, university professors, artists and retirees.

    I was talking with someone I know slightly. He’s a successful small business owner. Makes a decent living in town. I like him and we were discussing an idea that we share for a business. Maybe. He was complaining about how unreliable his low-paid help was. I suggested he pay them more. He didn’t respond and instead went on about how people had been living off the government for generations and it was time to end all of that. He didn’t want to be paying for lazy people’s bills. Cut off the supply of free money and maybe they’d do something useful. And so on. You’ve probably heard it all before.

    So here’s the shocker. I told him that really implementing a complete elimination of all those government programs would amount to Social Darwinism. He knew exactly what I was talking about. He didn’t quite smile, but gave me a look that I understood very well.

    Do you understand? There are a significant minority of Americans who believe that ALL government programs need to be eliminated. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps. Subsidies for art and science. Free school lunches…all of it. Unions. Labor laws. Environmental laws. Etc. All completely eliminated. And they know very well that it will impoverish and kill million upon millions of people. It’s what they want, without saying it directly.

    They know very well what the result of the most extreme Trump/Republican agenda will be.

    • There is a very basic division in human nature between the individually and the cooperatively minded, the bumble and the honey bee, with the former possessing an inborn sense of superiority.

    • See E. O. Wilson, an excellent socio-biologist who notes a simple hard and fast biological rule about eusocial animal societies (whether termites, ants, humans, or a number of other species): Selfish individuals thrive and altruistic individuals fail, while selfish societies fail but altruistic ones thrive. It’s pretty clear which course ours has now taken.

  15. Well, that is consistent with plotting to undermine the Lincoln Amendments – which the far-right skulking around on the Internet has been pimping since the ’90s.

    The only way to do it is the way the Virginia plantation owners did it in the 1670s. Enslave one portion of the working class under a caste label, and elevate another portion and hand them the whips. We’ve come full circle.

  16. It is shocking how Trump can get away with things where if President Obama or Clinton had done those things, Republicans would have put Obama and Clinton on trial for treason. It’s becoming horrifying shocking. And, little children don’t tell the truth to their parents? Parents tell them to stop lying and punish them. Husband or wife or companion cheat they say “you lied to me!” When is the national media going to start calling Trump a liar? Everyday people will be called liars if we lie. But not Trump?

  17. Someone else can cite actual numbers, but:

    Of registered voters, not representing all eligible, the 2016 turnout was light;

    A significant number of Trump voters were actually voting against HRC, not for Trump in a direct sense. This is my anecdotal perception, but I think the evidence would support it. I knew any number of people would couldn’t conceive of T winning, so just used their vote to spite Clinton.

    Then you get any number of ignorant and desperate for change folk, who were too naive to know how they were being manipulated, but who really aren’t outright stupid.

    Disaggregate things and the number of irredeemable Yahoos shrinks to background noise. This does assume there is competent leadership with inclusive programs and an involved polity.

  18. Despite statements by the security leadership of Sweden disputing his wild post-campaign bull•••• self-aggrandizing rants spewed in low-information regions of our country, the •••clown in Chief persists.

    “Give the public a break – The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!”
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2017

    Maybe someone in the maladministration could read this to the INSANE ILLITERATE POTUS?

    link to

  19. ” Trump made up another alleged terrorist attack at his rally on Saturday, this one about a figment of his imagination that did not actually take place in Sweden on Friday night ”


  20. Ahhh… you guys are delusional. Trump never mentioned a terror attack AT ALL in Sweden. Period. End of story.
    He said that Sweden has numerous problems following their large refugee influx.

    Do you all have problems with the English language or something? All you need to do is actually watch the speech.

    Shocking, I know.

    Maybe you can’t see past your own long noses?

  21. Well, if we’re going to nitpick and subject his semi-literate brain farts to a Zapruder film level of micro-analysis, what he actually said was on the order of “And can you believe what happened in Sweden last night” — clearly implying some specific horrible incident involving Muslim refugees when no such event occurred. Apparently he had seen a Fox News piece the night before about general problems resettling refugees which, when run through his ADD-restricted brain, became implanted in his mind as a terrorist attack or some kind of crisis, anyway. Who knows? He’s Trump.

    The scary thing to me about Trump is not that he’s lying. It’s that he thinks he’s telling the truth.

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