A scepter, a crown and an orb in the form of an apple were stolen from Erik XIV’s tomb in Västerås. The items are priceless funeral regalia from the 1500s. “I am outraged and shocked that it’s such a deliberate crime.” said cathedral chaplain Johan Sköld
A crypt in the church was shattered in Vasteras Cathedral on Friday morning leaving a gaping void in the high marble sarcophagus. Stolen was a unique set of regalia, which was linked to Erik XIV’s half brother John III’s funeral.
Funeral regalia, copies of the normal regalia worn by the Swedish kings, was used at royal funerals and placed in or on the casket.
“It’s a loss for everyone, this is our common heritage. We work hard to improve security, but the objects must also be accessible to all. It is a difficult balancing act.” said John Rothlind, chief curator at the Swedish Church in Västerås.
Erik XIV was buried in Vasteras after his death in 1577 with little ceremony and without regalia.
Much later, his remains were moved to a more appropriate tomb. Gustav III at that time arranged that a scepter and a crown of Uppsala, which might have been used in ceremonies at John III’s funeral, were moved to Västerås around the year 1800.
A second set of funeral regalia, in gold, which is also linked to Johan III’s funeral, is still held in Uppsala.
The stolen set was made in the Netherlands in the 1500s, in gilt bronze with silver details. The apple, in gilded wood, was manufactured around 1800.
The three objects were in or on a ?träkudde?, also stolen, adorned with Vasa sheaves.
Additional sets of funeral regalia are in Straengnaes (Charles IX), Uppsala Cathedral (Gustav Vasa), the Royal Armoury in Stockholm (Karl X Gustav) and in Uppsala (John III’s second set).
The small number of readers familiar with Henryk Sienkiewicz’s novel of the 17th Century Swedish Invasion of Poland-Lithuania The Deluge will have some sense of its devastating impact on the country. No one living today, however, realised that Swedish looting included the theft of Polish architecture on a massive scale.
A recent major drought in Poland caused the waters of the River Vistula to recede to levels unprecedented in living memory, revealing tons of architectural masonry looted by the Swedes and loaded onto barges for transport down the river to Gdansk, and thence across the Baltic to Sweden. The invaders’ greed apparently exceeded their navigational judgment, and one or more of the barges sank in the river, possibly as the result of overloading.
Low rainfall over the past few months has brought the Vistula, Poland’s longest river, to its lowest level since regular records began 200 years ago. ...
Historians believed that the Swedes who invaded Poland in the 17th century planned to move the looted cargo up the Vistula to Gdansk, where the river joins the Baltic Sea, and from there transport it home. There is still no firm explanation of why the boats sank on the way.
Kowalski said he and his team had so far located up to 10 tonnes of stonework, but this was only the beginning. “The boats had a capacity of 50-60 tonnes (each), so we think that we should find much more,” he said.
Once it has been removed from the river bed and catalogued, the plan is to take the masonry to Warsaw’s Royal Castle, one of the sites from which, historians believe, it was looted by the Swedish invaders.
For now though, the low water levels that revealed the artefacts are hampering efforts to retrieve them. Regular lifting equipment would sink into the mud, but the river is too low for the researchers to bring in floating cranes.
“We need to wait until it gets higher,” Kowalski said.
Gość Warszawski [Warsaw’s Guest] has a slideshow
Der Spiegel describes how the Boho-Bolshie lifestyle and philosophy backfired on the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson and his surviving partner Eva Gabrielsson. It turns out that communists not only want the survivorship benefits resulting from the traditional marriage they formerly spurned, they also want the money.
Stieg Larsson, the Swedish author of the Millennium trilogy, only became world-famous after his death in 2004. His long-time companion Eva Gabrielsson is still fighting for her share of the inheritance, but says she no longer plans to finish his fourth book. ...
Gabrielsson has to smoke a cigarette now. She lived with Larsson for 32 years. Together, they moved from rural northern Sweden to Stockholm. ...
When Larsson felt pleased with a chapter, he would give it Gabrielsson to read. He became increasingly confident in the crime story, until he eventually said that he had 10 books in his head about Salander and the insanity she encounters. But then he died. One day when the elevator in his building was out of order, Larsson had to climb the 197 steps to his office. He had a heart attack when he reached the top. He had just turned 50.
Shortly before his death, Larsson had submitted the third volume in the trilogy to his publisher Norstedts, but not a single book had yet been printed. Today more than 63 million copies of the Millennium trilogy have been sold. ...
Gabrielsson and Larsson weren’t just a couple, but also a leftist action group. First they were Maoists and then Trotskyists, voicing their criticism of the Swedish welfare state from a leftist point of view. She was an architect, while he worked for a news agency. They managed to make ends meet, and had no children. Like many Swedes of their generation, they were anti-bourgeois.
In their social circle, while couples may have been monogamous, they didn’t marry. But under Swedish law, a member of an unmarried couple doesn’t inherit anything from his or her deceased partner, no matter how long the couple was together. Blood trumps love, unless a will exists, but Larsson hadn’t written one. For that reason, the rapidly growing proceeds from the sale of the books and the film rights went to two biological relatives, Larsson’s father Erland (his mother Vivianne is dead) and his younger brother Joakim. “The money went to us, but we didn’t ask for it,” says Erland Larsson, 76. ...
After Larsson’s death, when his novels suddenly became such a huge success, the widow who isn’t a widow under the law sat down with Erland and Joakim Larsson to discuss what should happen next. An agreement seemed possible. But then attorneys took over the case, and an inheritance war ensued—one in which the Stieg Larsson fan community has participated extensively.
Two camps have since formed in Sweden: the (primarily female) Eva camp, with its own website (www.supporteva.com), and the (primarily male) Larsson camp (www.moggliden.com).
The inheritance dispute is being waged publicly. It culminated when Gabrielsson and Joakim Larsson went on Swedish television to explain their respective positions on the dispute. The widow, invoking a higher form of justice, said that the money had made the two Larssons greedy. Joakim Larsson defended his right to the inheritance and, in his modesty, came across as likeable.
Evidently in Sweden, the lesser charge of molestation does not result in an arrest warrant. Perhaps, as in the case of a speeding ticket or a parking violation in the United States, they will simply be mailing Assange a notice with an option to plead guilty and pay a fine or giving him the option to show up in court at a particular time and place to plead Not Guilty.
We have also learned that the original source, the Swedish newspaper Expressen, is a tabloid considered politically on the right.
Today’s Expressen (translated by Google) says the complainant had voluntary sex with Assange but he crossed her personal boundaries. Whatever that means.
Speculative visions of the possible depths of Assange’s depravity boggle the mind. The man looks like a pervert, that cobwebby hair, the furtive eyes, the pouty lips, and the flabby sex offender mouth.
He probably has a taste for the sorts of things that were once proposed as possible sexual definitions of floccinaucinihilipilification during a contest back at college: things involving a 1936 Bendix wringer-type washing machine, five girl scout uniforms, and 36 loaves of bread, mashed potatoes and dwarves. Girls are bound to draw the line somewhere. Perhaps she was merely tired of whipping him.
Wikileaks has responded: Julian Assange: the charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing
A British tech site, Thinq, sounds rather like a mouthpiece for Assange, and is claiming the whole thing is a smear campaign presumably by the US Government to discredit Assange in advance of its next leak of US documents “lift[ing] the lid on more atrocities committed by forces in Afghanistan in the polluted name of freedom.” Or so says the polluted voice of communism anyway.
UPDATE 12:50 EDT: The Guardian is now reporting that Swedish authorities have withdrawn the warrant for Assange’s arrest.
Good Point: (via Jose Guardia): Why isn’t the documentation for the charges up on WikiLeaks?”
The Pentagon is demanding that Wikileaks cease publishing and return immediately stolen US documents in its possession, hinting darkly at legal prosecution if the Internet news site does not comply. (Christian Science Monitor)
Of course, it is always possible that Julian Assange and his merry band of pranksters may be less than intimidated by an adversary so clueless that its first response to the theft and publication of Top Secret military documents is to issue a directive prohibiting its own personnel from gazing at the offending web site.
This is the “Close the barn door from the inside when the horse got out” approach to security breaches. [Wired]
Besides, Wikileaks has uploaded a password-protected file labeled “Insurance,” and believed to contain a massive collection of highly toxic State Department material, consisting of, according to a chat interview published by Wired:
260,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables that Manning described as exposing “almost criminal political back dealings.”
“Hillary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public,” Manning wrote.
Wikileaks has arranged, in the event that the US Government succeeds in shutting down its web site, to have the password released via Cryptome.
6 August 2010. If there is a takedown of Wikileaks, the insurance.aes256 file will be available through Cryptome along with the entire files of the Wikileaks website which have been archived.
Even without Julian Assange’s blackmail threat, Some News Agency sees problems trying to stop Wikileaks legally.
[F]rom a legal standpoint, there is probably little the U.S. government can do to stop WikiLeaks from posting the files.
It is against federal law to knowingly and willfully disclose or transmit classified information. But Assange, an Australian who has no permanent address and travels frequently, is not a U.S. citizen.
Since Assange is a foreign citizen living in a foreign country, it’s not clear that U.S. law would apply, said Marc Zwillinger, a Washington lawyer and former federal cyber crimes prosecutor. He said prosecutors would have to figure out what crime to charge Assange with, and then face the daunting task of trying to indict him or persuade other authorities to extradite him.
It would be equally difficult, Zwillinger said, to effectively use an injunction to prevent access to the data.
“Could the U.S. get an injunction to force U.S. Internet providers to block traffic to and from WikiLeaks such that people couldn’t access the website?” Zwillinger said. “It’s an irrelevant question. There would be thousands of paths to get to it. So it wouldn’t really stop people from getting to the site. They would be pushing the legal envelope without any real benefit.”
And the technical approach is problematic, too.
WikiLeaks used state-of-the-art software requiring a sophisticated electronic sequence of numbers, called a 256-bit key [to protect its “Insurance” files].
The main way to break such an encrypted file is by what’s called a “brute force attack,” which means trying every possible key, or password, said Herbert Lin, a senior computer science and cryptology expert at the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.
Unlike a regular six- or eight-character password that most people use every day, a 256-bit key would equal a 40 to 50 character password, he said.
If it takes 0.1 nanosecond to test one possible key and you had 100 billion computers to test the possible number variations, “it would take this massive array of computers 10 to the 56th power seconds — the number 1, followed by 56 zeros” to plow through all the possibilities, said Lin.
How long is that?
“The age of the universe is 10 to the 17th power seconds,” explained Lin. “We will wait a long time for the U.S. government or anyone else to decrypt that file by brute force.”
Could the NSA, which is known for its supercomputing and massive electronic eavesdropping abilities abroad, crack such an impregnable code?
It depends on how much time and effort they want to put into it, said James Bamford, who has written two books on the NSA.
The NSA has the largest collection of supercomputers in the world. And officials have known for some time that WikiLeaks has classified files in its possession.
The agency, he speculated, has probably been looking for a vulnerability or gap in the code, or a backdoor into the commercial encryption program protecting the file.
At the more extreme end, the NSA, the Pentagon and other U.S. government agencies — including the newly created Cyber Command — have probably reviewed options for using a cyber attack against the website, which could disrupt networks, files, electricity, and so on.
“This is the kind of thing that they are geared for,” said Bamford, “since this is the type of thing a terrorist organization might have — a website that has damaging information on it. They would want to break into it, see what’s there and then try to destroy it.”
The vast nature of the Internet, however, makes it essentially impossible to stop something, or take it down, once it has gone out over multiple servers.
In the end, U.S. officials will have to weigh whether a more aggressive response is worth the public outrage it would likely bring. Most experts predict that, despite the uproar, the government will probably do little other than bluster, and the documents will come out anyway.
Mikael Viborg, owner of PRQ hosting company at its server location
Were the Department of Defense, the NSA, or the FBI actually inclined to do anything about Wikileaks, NYM would be glad to help.
Their web site, we find, is hosted by PRQ in Stockholm, Sweden. That hosting company’s abuse reporting email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Be aware, however, that PRQ is associated with the notorious Swedish Bit Torrent file sharing hub The Pirate Bay.
Irate Muslims attacked Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who was delivering a lecture on free speech at Uppsala University last Tuesday, interrupting the presentation of a basically puerile and vulgar free speech exercise, a short 1:56 video, titled Allah ho Gaybar, made to protest alleged Islamic hypocrisy about homosexuality by the pseudononymous Sooreh Hera, an Iranian woman living and working in exile in the Netherlands. According to Hera, married Muslim males frequently indulge in homosexual relations, despite maintaining their religious intolerance of homosexuals and homosexuality.
Vilks was knocked to the ground and his eyeglasses were broken during the attack. The following Swedish televison 10:59 video shows the entire incident.
There is one happy moment (around 1:07) when a female Swedish cop peppersprays a belligerent Muslim youth wearing an orange coat and then her blond police compatriot bangs his head onto the back of a seat with a very satisfying thump.
But overall the video is horrifying. You see howling Muslim fanatics, chanting “Muhammed” in tones of insolent hostility, demanding that the film be stopped, shouting obscenities, and manipulatively threatening police with complaints. Several smirking non-Islamic Swedes do absolutely nothing to defend Vilks, public order, or the right of free speech in a major university in the face of open threats of mob violence, and in the end, in true contemporary European fashion, the authorities back down, the video is not finished, the lecture is canceled, and Muslim violence and intimidation are allowed to win.
Lars Vilks has been the object of Muslim threats for some time as the result of a humorous cartoon he drew depicting several years ago depicting the Prophet Mohammed as rondelhund, a kind of jocular street ornament in the form of a dog.
A 16-Year-Old Iraqi immigrant to Sweden working over four months apparently independently produced a formula for simplifying the generation of the Bernoulli Numbers, a sequence of rational numbers significant in number theory first identified in the Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli’s Ars Conjectandi, published posthumously in 1713.
Mohamed Altoumaimi’s formula was actually already known by mathematicians, but his generation of the same formula independently sufficiently impressed the academic community in Sweden that the young man was immediately offered admission to Upsala University. He has decided to finish secondary school first, however.
SWEDEN’S own version of the Loch Ness monster, the Storsjoe or Great Lake monster, has been caught on film by surveillance videos, an association that installed the cameras says.
The legend of the Swedish beast has swirled for nearly four centuries, with about 200 sightings reported in the lake in central Sweden.
“On Thursday at 12.21pm, we filmed the movements of a live being. And it was not a pike, nor a perch, we’re sure of that,” said Gunnar Nilsson, the head of a shopkeepers’ association in Svenstavik.
The association, together with the Jaemtland province and local municipality of Berg, installed six surveillance cameras in the lake in June, including two underwater devices.
The project, which has so far cost about 400,000 kronor ($73,400), is aimed at resolving the mystery of the Swedish Nessie.
The first sighting dates back to 1635 and the most recent to July 2007, with most speaking of a long, serpent-like beast with humps, a small cat or dog-like head, and ears or fins pressed against the neck.
The association employs one person full-time to review the recorded video footage each day.
In the images filmed yesterday and posted on a website dedicated to the Storsjoe monster, a long serpent-like being is seen swimming in the murky waters.
“A highly-advanced system on one of the cameras detected heat produced by the cells,” indicating that it was a live being, Mr Nilsson said.
The proud motto of northern Europe’s crack rapid-reaction force is ad omnia paratus. Prepared for everything, everywhere. But the heraldic lion above the Latin tag now sends a less plucky message – he has just been digitally emasculated and, though technically still a lion rampant, he does not seem to be ready for anything, anywhere.
The change was implemented after a group of women Swedish soldiers protested that they could not identify with such an ostentatiously male lion on their army crest. A complaint of sex discrimination was then lodged with the European Court of Justice.
“We were forced to cut the lion’s willy off with the aid of a computer,” Christian Braunstein, from the Tradition Commission of the Swedish Army, said.
Now the Nordic Battlegroup, a force of 2,400 soldiers, is looking deeply embarrassed. For sceptics who already consider the Nordic Battlegroup to be something of an oxymoron – it is led by the Swedes, who were last in battle in 1809 – the operation on the lion is not an auspicious omen.
“A castrated lion – the perfect symbol for European defence policy,” an American military blogger sneered.
There are 18 battle groups in the European Union and the Nordic one, comprising Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia and Ireland, goes on standby on January 1, 2008.
Most upset, though, was Vladimir Sagerlund, the designer of the crest from the National Archives. “A heraldic lion is a powerful and stately figure with its genitalia intact and I cannot approve an edited image,” he told öteborgs-Posten, a Swedish daily.
“The Army lacks knowledge about heraldry. Coats of arms containing lions without genitalia were given to those who betrayed the Crown.”
This kind of thing comes up all the time in relation to the arms of particular Swiss cantons featuring bears whose equipment is not only intact, but even more flamboyantly erect and displayed gules, (i.e. red). Attempts to censor the overly-explicit Swiss charges always result in absolute uproar with lots of coarse Swiss comments about refusing to be represented by female bears.