"Darth Vader" Swedish sword attacker may have been a far-right extremist

An investigation by a Swedish organization found that the masked attacker was influenced by racists & neo-fascists

Published October 22, 2015 5:27PM (EDT)

A student and her parent leave a school in Trollhattan, Sweden after a masked man killed one teacher and wounded another as well as two boys, October 22, 2015.   (Reuters/Scanpix Sweden)
A student and her parent leave a school in Trollhattan, Sweden after a masked man killed one teacher and wounded another as well as two boys, October 22, 2015. (Reuters/Scanpix Sweden)

Two people at a school in Sweden were murdered Thursday morning in one of the most nightmarish ways imaginable: They were hacked to death by a masked man carrying a large sword. Two more were injured, and rushed to the hospital.

The incident, the deadliest school attack in Swedish history, has gone viral across the international media -- not just because of its sheer horror, but also because of its strange nature. The sword-wielding attacker was draped from head to toe in black, with leather boots, a long jacket, and a menacing martial mask and helmet. Even stranger is that the masked murderer posed for photos with students before killing a teacher and a pupil.

Many media outlets referred to the culprit as the "Darth Vader killer," noting that his strange attire is reminiscent of the infamous Star Wars villain. BBC pointed out, however, that this outfit has a horrific historical parallel -- it resembles a Nazi uniform.

What the media failed to acknowledge is that there is good reason the murderer's mask looks like Darth Vader's: Star Wars creator George Lucas modeled Vader's Galactic Empire off of Nazi Germany. The fact that Lucas named the Imperial Army troops the "Stormtroopers" is the most well-known sign. Lesser known is that Darth Vader's outfit is modeled after the Nazi SS.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, Expo -- a Swedish magazine published by The Expo Foundation, an independent, non-profit organization devoted to "studying and mapping anti-democratic, right-wing extremist, and racist tendencies in society" -- has reported that the sword attacker was influenced by neo-fascists.

According to Expo's investigation, the attacker had clear sympathies with far-right and anti-immigrant movements. The killer "liked" videos on YouTube that glorify Nazi Germany. He was also a fan of videos made by prominent neo-fascist figures that criticize multiculturalism, claim Jews control the media, and emphasize the importance of race in society.

On the attacker's Facebook page, Expo says he "liked" far-right politicians, including the nationalist, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party.

Police, who killed the masked murderer, told the media that the attack may have been racially motivated, but say they are investigating further.

The incident has brought back terrifying memories of Norwegian fascist Anders Breivik, who massacred 77 civilians in 2011, the vast majority of whom were leftist activists.

The school attack comes in the wake of a string of far-right attacks on refugees and refugee shelters in Sweden, and throughout Europe. In 2015, there have been 15 attacks on refugee shelters in Sweden. In one of such incidents, a Christian cross was set on fire outside of a refugee center, recalling the KKK and white supremacist terrorism in the U.S.

Swedish Sword Attack: Police Confirm 3 Dead

By Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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