Government Sends Every Swedish Household Booklet Preparing Citizens for War

A soldier and a boy walk away after they offered flowers near the department store Ahlens following a suspected terror attack in central Stockholm, Sweden, Saturday, April 8, 2017.
AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Every household in Sweden will soon receive a booklet from the government with information preparing the population for war, terror attacks, and ‘hostile propaganda’.

During ‘emergency preparedness week’ from May 28 to June 3, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) will send out 4.8 million copies of the booklet, which is entitled “If Crisis or War Comes”.

Illustrated with scenes of armed conflict, the 20-page resource contains information that the government says is necessary to ensure the population is “better prepared for dealing with serious events both in peacetime and — in the worst case scenario — war”.

“Many non-profit organisations and faith communities make important contributions to our collective security and preparedness,” claims the booklet, in a section which calls on Swedes to “get involved” with helping defend the nation in some way.

“Everyone is obliged to contribute and everyone is needed” in the event of armed conflict sparking up in Sweden, it says, stating that “everyone who lives here and is between the ages of 16 and 70 can be called up to assist in various ways in the event of the threat”.

On a page illustrated with a picture of tanks, helicopters, and soldiers carrying guns, the government says: “We must be able to resist various types of attacks directed against our country.”

“Even today, attacks are taking place against our IT systems and attempts are being made to influence us using false information,” it claims, above a list of “potential attacks” including airstrikes, sabotage of infrastructure, terror attacks and “attempts to influence Sweden’s decision makers or inhabitants”.

Warning that “states and organisations are already using misleading information in order to try and influence our values”, the pamphlet tells Swedes to be alert for “false information and hostile propaganda” aimed at lowering the nation’s “resilience and willingness to defend [itself]”.

Earlier this year, when the plan to produce the booklets was first announced, Swedish security service (Säpo) chief Anders Thornberg said Islamic extremism continues to pose the major threat to the public, warning that the risk of terrorism taking place in Sweden has not decreased since the deadly attack in Stockholm last year carried out by failed asylum seeker Rakhmat Akilov.

While Swedish authorities last year reported that the number of violent Islamists in the country has risen tenfold in a decade to more than 2,000, the pamphlet is non-specific about potential terror threats to the country, warning simply that “attacks may be targeted against individual people or groups, against the general public or against vital societal functions such as the electricity supply or the transport system”.

“Society is vulnerable, so we must prepare ourselves as individuals,” said MSB chief Dan Eliasson, announcing that a hotline has been opened for Swedes to ask questions or relay any concerns relating to the project.


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