The Torch

The Torch (Danish: is a Danish web-magazine devoted to cultural trends and social comment in a humanist worldview. Edited by Rune Engelbreth Larsen and Carsten Agger.



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The Cartoon Crisis and the Danish Prime Minister

Jens-André P. Herbener
New Scholarly Translation of the Hebrew Bible

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Matrix and the Metaphysical Film Revolution

Carsten Agger
Assault Against the Freedom of Speech

Totalitarian and Fascist Tendencies in Denmark

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Totalitarian and Fascist Tendencies in Denmark | THE TORCH


"Shocking casework" in the Social Appeal Administration (Den Sociale Ankestyrelse)

According to mayor Kjeld Hansen, the casework in the Social Appeal Administration, where, among other things, it is decided whether a person can be awarded an early retirement or not, is uncommonly careless. On September 4th, the mayor announces his resignation as a lay judge in the Appeal Administration because he no longer wants to live with a casework which he characterizes as "shocking". On a single meeting, as many as 40 cases may be decided; cases with a couple of thousands of pages of documentations with only 4 or 5 day's preparation.

"The people it's all about are left out," says Kjeld Hansen to Aktuelt on September 5th. As opposed to criminal cases, where the defendants may witness the trial and hire a counsel or have one assigned, people applying for retirement because they feel ill or worn-out have no such option when their case is being considered.

Social worker Gunvor Auken of SiD agrees with Kjeld Hansen's criticism and says to the same newspaper: "These decisions are fateful and may have greater significance for the lives of the applicants than many decisions at the courts. I can easily understand if a socially engaged person feels pressed and thinks that it has become too tough."

Social worker Hanne Reintoft observes that a thorough reform of the legal system is necessary in order to secure the protection of the rights of the using assigned counsels and assessors, if social decisions are to be tried in court. In Jyllands-Posten on November 11th she declares: "Today, social clients have better legal protection if they steal a bicycle than if they want the courts to decide social cases that affect the very foundation of their lives. Many social clients are actually let down by armchair decisions and sloppy casework."

The jurist Anette Lewinsky endorses the criticism after several years' experience as a caseworker with the Ombudsmand, among other places: "You definitely can't rule out that many more people would get the benefits to which they are entitled if they had their cases tried in court."


Søren Krarup & Mogens Camre join forces: The Jews cause anti-Semitism themselves - and Muslim women are big and fat

On September 10th, Ekstra Bladet quite extraordiarily runs a detailed cover story on the new discussion program "Helt ærlig, mand" in DR1, which the journalist has seen prior to the show's first night the same evening. The front page text says: "Rampant xenophobia".

Thus, the newspaper ensures the TV show an invaluable publicity by implying that even the xenophobia of Ekstra Bladet is surpassed... Mogens Camre (former member of the Danish Parliament for the Social Democratic Party) and the Reverend Søren Krarup do supplement each other in the show with violent attacks against refugees in general and Muslims in particular.

Camre, currently employed in the Danish EU representation in Bruxelles, was originally intended to meet Minister of the Interior Torkild Simonsen, but the minister declined, which very conveniently gave Krarup another opportunity to promote his new book I min levetid, 60 års Danmarkshistorie ("In my lifetime - 60 years of Danish history") - and this took place in a for Danish politics new and pathetic alliance with a former spokesman of the social democratic party.

"What do a black priest and a red politican have in common?" was the admonitory prelude to the TV show; the show itself took Camre's ever sharper and more frequent attacks on the "immigrant-friendly"politics of the social democratic party as its point of departure.

The reporters frequently referrred to Camre's feature article "The State of the Nation" in Politiken on September 20th 1997, where the vehement attacks from a number of so-called ordinary Danes on refugees and immigrants are referred in such a way that Camre cannot be blamed for them personally. The social democratic EU official states that the economy and employment are doing well in Denmark but that discontent is increasing in spite of this and the popularity of the Social Democratic Party is, as a consequence, suffering an ominous decrease: "After one month of conversations with people from all sections of the population, city people and country people, blue-collar workers, white-collar workers and managing directors, fishermen, academics, welfare recipients and old-age pensioners, I will attempt to diagnose this discontent. (...) The one thing that ordinary people talk a lot about is the apparently peaceful invasion called refugees and immigrants. The Danes fear that the society they know is breaking apart."

On his own account, Camre "diagnoses" in accordance with the average Dane: "I have to admit that this summer I have seen a number of really expensive cars with Danish license plates and very well-dressed Middle Eastern young men inside. These cars were not bought for the welfare benefits, and it is undeniably difficult to imagine that the money has been earned by activities that we appreciate in Denmark. It is obvious that the great number of refugees and immigrants implies a very heavy increase in crime."

Twenty days after the publication of Camre's article, Birte Weiss was replaced as prime minister by Torkild Simonsen, then mayor in Aarhus and one of the most outstanding critics of the "soft" social demcratic immigration politics. A coincidence that Camre does not forget to point out.

In the evening's show he warns against Islam which, according to Camre, threatens to destroy Europe - not least because of the increase of population in the Muslim world. He garnishes his "analysis" with outbursts like the following:

"It is a fact that many of the immigrant women are oppressed and malnutritioned because the men like to display their richness by having big and fat wives."

A "foreigner" is "a man of unmistakably Middle-Eastern appearance. He is as elegantly dressed Onassis' son. And he owns vehicles that neither I nor the prime minister could ever afford. I know that these things are due to the tremendous crime rate that follows immigration."

"I'd like to say that I see this from - I believe - a really humane point of view, for I definitely don't want us to take things so far that a new Adolf Hitler will arise some place in Europe to deal with immigration."

Krarup defends and complements Camre:

"If people continue the common Western blindness and keep burying their heads in the sand, the West will be lost as it's run down by the conspicuous and overt Muslim aggressivity. "

"I'm very concerned that Jews are always posturing and telling the population: 'You don't have to be afraid - we are telling you that there's no danger whatsoever.' That's what leads to the unpleasant phenomenon called anti-Semitism because people think: 'They don't seem to want to live on equal terms with the rest of us!'

So the Jews cause anti-Semitism themselves - where did we hear that one before?

Camre rages against Naser Khader from Det Radikale Venstre; Khader, however, repays the attacks by stabbing his fellow immigrants in the back; he regrets that the former statesman has misunderstood him: "He misunderstands my message completely. I don't believe that one religion is better than another. If Muslims ever take over in Denmark I'll be out of here." (Ekstra Bladet on September 9).

A friendly and co-operative hand from an "immigrant politician" to the Muslims of Denmark?

The Social Democratic Party is not happy that their party colleague becomes the ally of Krarup. As an example we have the severe condemnation of Lubna Elahi, member of the City Council of Copenhagen for the Social Democratic Party; she even reports Camre to the police for violation of the so-called "racism Act" and demands that he is expelled from the party. On September 11, she states to Ekstra Bladet: "We're a lot of social democrats working against discrimination at a grass-roots level and our party is the party with most immigrants among its voters. That's why I have an identity problem being in the same party as Camre." She does not explain why she does not appear to have an "identity problem" with the discrimination ratified by Minister of the Interior Torkild Simonsen's new Aliens Act.

Simon Hansen, former leader of the social democratic news service, launches a nationwide campaign demanding Camre's expulsion, and Lene Jensen, the party's deputy chairman, emphasizes in Politiken on September 11 that she intends to raise the matter in the executive committee.

On the other hand there are no comments neither from Minister of the Interior Torkild Simonsen nor from Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen while Per Madsen, the social democratic mayor of Ishøj and Britta Christensen, the social democratic mayor of Hvidovre come forward on Camre's side and state that the expulsion plans are "totally out of proportions."

The day after the TV show, a feature article written by Camre is published in Jyllands-Posten. The timing is perfect. Clearly inspired by Krarup's rhetorics he attacks "Upper Denmark" as well as the "refugee industry" and renounces the UN's "obsolete" Convention concerning the Condition of Refugee while depicting the same civil war scenario for Denmark's future regularly prophesied by Krarup since his first campaign against the refugee politics in 1986: "The real deception, therefore, is the claim that Europe will avoid the wars we see all over the world wherever one civilization feels threatened by another." At this point, Camre enumerates the cultural collissions which according to him create all national conflicts in the world, for instance between Palestinians and Jews in Israel, Catholics and Protestants in Ireland or between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda.

"The politically correct refuse to discuss the simple fact that it is the totality of cultural traits in the civilizations from which the immigrants originate that causes their despotism, corruption, their massacres and their economic and social underdevelopement," claims Camre.

It is also not very difficult to see why the self-staged politically incorrect like Krarup & Camre refuse to dig further and discuss the simple fact whether it is not rather the totality of Christian missionary work and Western colonialism and imperialism which is the ultimate cause of the destruction and oppression of the third world - and the whole subsequent chaos which manifests itself in famine, corruption, civil wars and millions of refugees. It is certainly easier to fall back, as Camre does, on the most insipid cultural chauvinism, which conveniently protects the West from criticism and endows all other "cultural traits" with despotism, murder and general under-development!

On September 13th, three days after the show, Krarup is on the front page of Århus Stiftstidende which prints a long interview under the headline "Sun over Seem". Once again, Krarup backs up Camre: "Camre is systematically smeared by a totally uncontrolled, hysterical and, may I say, dull Karen Thisted. It's unpleasant that as soon as there's one honest social democrat who's not afraid to tell the truth, a journalist immediately pops up to criminalize him."

The reverend is satisfied to note, however, that no longer is everything headed in the wrong direction; as an example, his latest book, his 25th, has got quite another reception than accostumed: "I am used to meeting a massive wall of hostility from the official Denmark and I feel quite another kind of sympathy and attention for the moment."

On the same day, Berlingske Tidende also publishes a large interview with the reverend. The new attention from the media makes him consider his own political possibilities once more: "Jacob Haugaard was the first to be elected since 1915 without being a party man, but it turned out that he didn't have a lot to show for it. But I have often thought of running as an independent candidate."

For according to Krarup, Denmark needs a new kind of politician: "Imagine there were politicians with courage, politicians who would try to re-create a decent government in this country. It's a question of will, substance and perspective."

It is thus left to the reader to guess whose courage Krarup may be thinking of.

In the meantime, the social democratic party is further polarized with respect to Camre. In a joint statement a number of social democrats, Minister of the Environment Svend Auken and Morten Bødskov, chairman of the social democratic youth organization (DSU), among them, take strong exception to their party colleague: "Camre's points of view do not represent the politics of the social democratic party - and never will."

In the meantime, the local social democratic organization in Bagsværd discusses whether o expel Camre or not. Its chairman Lars Poulsen says to Politiken on September 9: "I've had a lot of enquiries from people who would like to have him thrown out of the party but I have spoken with just as many who think the opposite."

The discussion actually ends with a compromise. Camre remains a member, but strong exception is taken to his points of view and statements, which are called "repulsive" and "almost racist".

Camre announces from Bruxelles that he is satisfied with the result. He still believes that he speaks on behalf of the majority of the rank-and-file social democrats, and adds drily: "My points of view were actually expressed quite eloquently by Minister of the Interior Thorkild Simonsen while he was still mayor in Århus." (Jyllands-Posten, September 14).

Under the headline "Camre's Right", Ekstra Bladet's editorial supports Camre's right to speak the way he does and criticizes the part of the SocialDemocratic Party eager to expel him: "... if you just want to shut him up because you don't like what he says you're not a part of the solution to the problem he's trying to discuss, you're a part of the problem."

Lene Jensen, vice chairman of the Social Democratic Party and previously very intent on having Camre expelled by the executive committee demonstrates the party's wish to be a part of the "solution", asEkstra Bladet calls it, and with a characteristic volte-face she rejects the notion of expelling Camre: "You have to respect the local decision", she declares in Jyllands-Posten on September 15th and considers the whole case closed. We hear no more about the campaign to have Camre expelled - the whole case is to be hushed up.

Expelling Camre is just too risky: The Danish People's Party stand with their arms open, ready to welcome Camre and other social democrats who - in the words of vice chairman Peter Skaarup - are "homeless in their own party." (Socialisten Weekend, September 18th).

In a comment in Aktuelt on September 15th, Camre also seems to call for a reconciliation with his party colleagues. He suddenly expresses his great admiration for Lubna Elahi who "works loyally to adapt to Danish culture and legislation" and who has "repeatedly dissociated herself from the usual male dominated Muslim attitudes". Furthermore, Camre claims: "I have not, of course, patronized or condemned refugees or immigrants in general; on the contrary, I have- quoting the statements of ordinary Danes, among other things - pointed out the tensions and problems we see here and in most European countries because of immigration."

The party breathes a sigh of relief. Camre stays in the fold and avoids drawing even more votes with him to the right wing. The social democratic garden appears to be lovely.

Apart from all the degrading statements that refugees and immigrants have to endure, the obvious loser is Lubna Elahi. Her own ambiguous immigrant policy has repeatedly stabbed immigrants in the back and now she reaps the Camre sown by herself and her party. In 1995, she left SF and entered the Social Democratic Party with the following argument: "The social democrats are more realistic in their immigrant politics. I have helped developing that of SF, but I have changed my mind and today I totally agree with the no-nonsense line of for instance Minister of the Interior Birte Weiss. (...) On the Danish left wing there is a totally destructive flabby humanitarianism which is far more harmful than beneficial to foreigners. It gives a false security that some foreigners even exploit committing swindle and crime. If you're afraid to speak against refugees and immigrants whenever it's reasonable for fear of being called a racist I fear a popular reaction from the Danes." (Ekstra Bladet, September 8, 1995).

The "no-nonsense line" for which Elahi praises Weiss is actually the long line of tightenings and infringements implemented by the former Minister of the Interior before she was replaced with the hardliner Simonsen (routine imprisonment of certain asylum-seekers who have not committed any crime whatsoever and deportation as an exclusive punishment for refugees for certain offences). Elahi is, like Weiss and Simonsen, a precise expression of the common social democratic view that equality before the law does not include immigrants and refugee and that official discrimination is no more than an element in the obvious "no-nonsense line" which citizens with certain ethnic backgrounds apparently have to endure. Elahi, Weiss and Simonsen are not racists, but they and their party unhesitatingly manage a regular discrimination politics whose next step may alarmingly easy develop into something very similar to racism.

Camre has a future in the Social Democratic Parti. He cannot be expelled, they dare not do it - not only because of the potential loss of voters, also because of the potential loss of mayors! It is informative to note that Elahi has no problem being in the same party as mayors whose statements are very close to those of Camres ...

In 1987, for instance, Per Madsen, social democratic mayor of Ishøj, declared: "We see a 'Khomeinyzation" of the immigrants, we se more women with headscarfs and long skirts. The immigrants don't integrate. If the Iranians act as if they still were home in Iran and the Turks as if the were in Turkey they'll have to go back where they came from. It can't go on this way. We haven't had any clashes yet but they will come." (Politiken, August 19th, 1987).

In 1989, members of the Danish League attended a rally with Per Madsen, and the league's magazine Danskeren (the Dane) prints the summary "which was presented to Per Madsen for correction and approval" and which is printed with the mayor's permission. Here he declares, among other things: "Muslims live at a medieval stage with a degradation of women and female culture which is unheard of in this country. Women are bargained with like cattle, and they are flogged and maltreated." (Danskeren no. 1, 1989, p. 3).

In 1994 Kjeld Rasmussen, social democratic mayor of Brøndby, supported his colleague in Ishøj: "Every time Per Madsen said anything, people said it was exaggerated. Even when they fetched their cousins from the same district, and they had degenerate children and so forth. And people said: This is withour foundation. But that's just the way it is, and those statistics are - what's it called now? - Glostup Amtssygehus, and the county mayor - not the present one, the former county mayor - has been able to document that a lot of children were sent there. They couldn't see if they actually were the same family or not, of course, but we did get a lot of, shall we say, handicapped children at the time." (Quoted by John Reynolds, vice county mayor of Albertslund, in Politiken August 23rd, 1994).

In June 1990 a report with the long title "Danish contribution to the report from the European Community's enquiry committee about racism and xenophobia for following up the meber states of the joint declaration of councils, commissions and Parliament of June 11th, 1986" becomes available. In this report, the practise of the local authorities of Ishøj, where refugees and immigrants are denied the right to public utility apartments if the concentration of "foreigners" is estimated to be too high, is characterized as "a frigtening example of administrative racism", and the excuse, that it serves the best interest of the immigrants, is downright rejected as "the universal argument for Apartheid."

In 1994 Thorkild Simonsen, social democratic mayor of Aarhus, gives Fremskridtspartiet (the "Progress Party", an ultra-liberalistic and xenophobic party at the extreme right) an unexpected hand: "Glistrup is beginning to be right when we speak of the government's mistaken asylum policy. er ved at få ret, når det gælder statens forfejlede flygtningepolitik. Only the statements of the former leader of Fremskridtspartiet in the early seventies were so rabid that people took exception. That's why we haven't had a proper asylum debate ..." (Politiken, December 9, 1994).

In 1997 Kjeld Rasmussen, social democratic mayor of Brøndby, declared: "Now I'm sitting with our housing committee and renting apartments. And since February, not one individual from the hot countries has entered Brøndby Nord. We're also throwing out all the criminal idiots if they don't behave. We're weeding out for the benefit of the citizens and the housing societies. The citizens have a right to keep the Danish housing environment." (Berlingske Tidende, November 9, 1997).

The social democrats are weeding out.

No, Camre is no isolated case and if he still expresses himself somewhat more sharply than most social democratic MPs even they are beginning to find out what kind of rhetoric yields the most votes. In 1997, Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen thus stated: "We will not put up with the illegal crimes of the illegally immigrated welfare freeloaders." (Berlingske Tidende, November 17, 1997). Is this an impartial account - or a continuation of mayor Kjeld Rasmussen's strategy of "weeding out"?

The mayors' higly derogatory comments concerning immigrantsBorgmestres stærkt nedladende ytringer om indvandrere, the "no-nonsense line" of former Minister of the Interior Birthe Weiss, the no-nonsense support of this from "immigrant politician" Elahi, the discriminating Aliens Act of the present Minister of the Interior Simonsen and the Prime Minister's ever more criminalizing rhetorics against immigrants are, just like Camre's provocations, nothing more than different sides of the same case .


Single elderly refugees are paid less than Danes

Because of the new social law, a group of elderly refugees find themselves in far worse financial circumstances than Danes. These elderly single refugees do not receive the same as single Danish old age pensioners but only a smaller amount corresponding to a married old age pensioner with no other income. At the same time, they even lose the right to the usual housing subsidy also claimed buy Danish old age pensioners.

Andreas Kamm, Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council declares to Jyllands-Posten on September 9: "It isn't reasonable that we in Denmark have to give so low a subsidy that it is practically impossible to have even moderately decent conditions of life." Generalsekretær i Dansk Flygtningehjælp, Andreas Kamm udtaler til Jyllands-Posten den 11.9.: "Det kan ikke være rimeligt, at vi her i Danmark giver så lav en hjælp, at det i praksis er umuligt at have blot nogenlunde rimelige levevilkår."

The Danish Refugee Council has appealed to the Ministry for Social Affairs - until now in vain. In an answe, the ministry writes that "most people are able to accomodate themselves so that their expenses have a reasonable relation to their income."

Dansk Flygtningehjælp har appelleret til Socialministeriet - foreløbig forgæves. I et svar herfra hedder det, at "de fleste forstår at indrette sig, så de udgifter, de har, står i et rimeligt forhold til deres indtægter".

This seems to be the most polite way of avoiding the issue.

Jyllands-Posten, however, exemplifies the matter by taking the case of an elderly refugee who has lost at least 1,383 kroner in public benefits as wall as all her housing subsidy of 1,272 kroner. Her housing subsidy is only 450 kroner - had she been a normal single old age pensioner, she would receive 2,338 kroner a month in housing subsidy.

When the rent is paid, she has no more than 1,460 kroner a month. This amount has to cover food, clothing, transportation, diversions, repairs, dentist work and all other expenses.

Asylum-seekers on bread and water

Since the summer of 1997, more than 300 rejected asylum-seekers have refused to assist in their own repatriation. Probably because they fear to meet the same persecution and infringements they escaped from. The Danish authorities, therefore, seek to press these people out of the country by using so-called "motivational provisions". They have to report to the police every day and are stripped of the allowance for food, clothing and pocket money (adult asylum-seekers normally receive 67 kroner a day for food and pocket money; children receive 28 kroner, while they all reeive 5,75 a day for clothing).

On September 11th, B.T. tells us about the Muslim family Mujanovic from the Serbian dominated federal republic Yugoslavia who in 1993 were driven away from their homes and whom Denmark has denied asylum; during 14 they have had to live from governmental "packed lunches" and must use three hours each day for transportation to the police station in Nykøbing Falster and back in order to report to the police. If they fail to attend, the family will be sent to jail. They cannot return to Yugoslavia, which will not even receive them, but Denmark has rejected them, so they are obliged to leave Denmark "voluntarily" even though they have no place to go.

Every morning, 365 days a year, the family receives 40 kroner each for the bus fare to Nykøbing Falster. Apart from shelter, the only contribution from the authorities to the family is a package of canned food and sanitary articles every two weeks. B.T. writes: "As earlier described by B.T., the packages distributed by the Danish Red Cross give rise to grotesque scenes in the homes of the asylum-seekers. They are practically drowning in washing-up liquids, tooth paste, shampoo, pepper, salt and the like. The Mujanovic' have thus received about four kilos of pepper and twelve kilos of salt during the last twelve months!" There are no fresh vegetables or fruit to get among the canned, frozen or otherwise preserved food.

On October 21st, Århus Stiftstidende writes that the national police is reporting far to many refugees for not cooperating with the police. From July 3rd to mid-October, the national police reported 1,122 cases solely based on their estimate, while the Immigration Service found that only 229 of these ought to lead to the special "motivational provisions".

Louise Holck, head of department in the Danish Refugee Council, declares in Berlingske Tidende on September 25th that asylum-seekers are also stripped of their allowance by the Immigration Service in cases that have nothing to do with a lack of will to cooperate with the authorities.

Holck writes: "When justifying the decision, the Immigration Service may write: 'You have explained that your passport is with your girl friend in Germany' og 'you do not possess any kind of identity papers' or 'You believe that you will be able to acquire an ID-card, a birth certificate and so forth." This kind of reasons have nothing to do with a lack of cooperation from the asylum-seeker. The Danish Refugee Council receives many enquiries from asylum-seekers who have been stripped of their allowance without understanding why as well as from asylum-seekers who have wanted to cooperate but simply have not been informed where to apply or who have been rejected by the police or by the Immigration Service. In some cases months have passed from the asylum-seekers gave the desired information and until the 'bred and water' arrangement was lifted."

Holck emphasizes that even though some asylum-seekers arrive to the country without papers this does not necessarily imply that they do not want to cooperate with the investigation of their case: "Many asylum-seekers simply don't have the necessary papers and they will often be ignorant of their itinerary because it was planned by others, or they may have been threatened not to reveal details about their escape."

But no allowance is made for that sort of thing when trying to convince people who have escaped from their home countries - of escaping from Denmark.


Poverty in Denmark

In Aktuelt on September 14th, professor John Andersen from Roskilde University points out that today's society has created a new kind of poverty: "Historically, we have previously had a far worse poverty. But where there used to be a collective destiny connected with being a poor worker, for instance, poverty in post-industrial society appears like a far more individual failure, even when the poverty is actually caused by structural problems, namely that a number of jobs no longer need to be done."

More and more people become dependent of food packages from humanitarian organizations; especially single mothers are trapped in an ever worsening financial situation. Social worker Anne Rudbeck at Utterslev church has had to limit the number of applicants so that grants can only be applied for once a year, even though the applicants live at subsistence level: "They tell me how they save. Some women only eat meat if they can get hold of the surplus meat from the EU distrbuted by some charitable organizations,"she declares in Aktuelt on September 15th.

In the same newspaper, a 36-year-old single mother with two children who has been living from welfare for twenty years describes her financial situation, which leaves her 35 kroner per person per day - one trip to the cinema and there is no money for food that day. This amount must cover food, clothing, transportation, diversion, repairs and other unforeseen expenses.

An investigation performed for Aktuelt by Alsted Research A/S gives the following numbers for poor people in Denmark: Calculated from the poverty with a disposal amount (the income after deducing all regular outlays) below 2,058 kroner each person each month we have 8 per cent poor people in Denmark in the age 29-79. Of these, 4 per cent have a disposal amount less than 1,372 kroner, that is, more than 200,000 people live for a disposal amount of 46 kroner a day - and since the investigation is based on telephone interviews, homeless persons are not included in the statistics.

These figures point in the same direction as reports from the UN. Human Development Report 1997 calculated that 8 per cent of the Danes lived below the poverty limit and according to UNDP's report from September 1998 based on figures from 1995, 7,5 per cent of the Danes live below a poverty limit defined as persons whose income is less than half the average income.

Social worker Hanne Reintoft thinks that poverty has generally become worse during Nyrup's government: "Personally I believe that the situtation for those in bad financial circumstances has become far worse. It's terrible that we almost have to miss Poul Schlüter, but today we see a criminalization of the way of life and willingness to work of large parts of the population, and that is higly discriminating and a little inhuman." (Aktuelt, September 14th).

Aktuelt has published a 24-page special edition called Fokus on the subject, which among other things presents details from the investigation of Alsted Research. The newspaper may be ordered for five kroner a copy (at least ten must be ordered): Aktuelt, att. Karen Østerbye, Kalvebod Brygge 35-37, 1595 København V, Denmark, telephone +45 33184000.


Antropological field studies in activation ("workfare") projects: Activation is by definition pointless work and hidden amateur therapy

A number of activation factories are established as special "offers" for those welfare recipients forced into activation. In connection with her anthropology thesis, Nanna Mik-Meyer investigated the special factories and workshops established by all municipalities for so-called "difficult" unemployed persons.

The work is pointless and the working conditions which were supposed to give the activated person experience which might be used in the real labor market are actually designed for pure amateur therapy where the project managers know practically nothing about the professional background of the activated person while on the other hand they are thoroughly informed of their social situation; they even describe their own function as "upbringing". "Upbringing" of adults.

On September 16, she tells about the conclusions of her research in Politiken: "This is what is really problematic: That something that is actually a mandatory labour market project becomes hidden amateur psychology. I think that when you force people into this project you shouldn't mix it with identity therapy since that kind of therapy has to be based on the person to be helped wanting it. Just as we working people decide for ourselves whether we want to go to a doctor or a psychologist to get help with our problems."

The project managers behave like some sort of parents: "The roles are absolutely stuck. These are parent-child-roles which are grotesque between normal adults. First of all because the activated persons are often far older than the employees, secondly because the activated people cannot escape this role without losing their dignity."

These conditions marginalize the activated persons even more: "We all have persons in our circle of acquaintances who have had a tough childhood or who drink a little too much. But it seems that if you are a long-term unemployed that becomes all-important, and then you're a part of the 'difficult group'."

The very legislation incites the projects to be pointless: "Actually you just have to read the law in order to see that this is no good. It says that this kind of municipal factories may not distort competition, that the local authorities may not earn anything off them. That alone. That means that the work has to be pointless, for if not, others would presumably have done it," declares Nanna Mik-Meyer to Politiken.

Heavily armed police "going for a walk" in Christiania

Two days in a row Christiania had a visit from policemen in combat gear who were just "taking a walk", as the forces of law and order express it themselves.

In this connection, however, Christiania wishes to report the police to the police for reckless driving during the "walk". One of the residents says to Politiken on September 9: "During Thursday's visit, the riot squad suddenly came racing in a car so people had to jump for their lives."

According to Flemming Munck of the Copenhagen police there is no special occasion for the concentrations of troops in Christiania. To the same newspaper he says: "The point is that people who live in Christiania as well as those who come there have to get used to the fact that ordinary police work will also be done in the free city."

Combat ready troops armed with machine guns perform "ordinary police work."

The Danish People's Party's advertising campaign for "law and order" was paid by the State

From September 1998 to May 1999 the Danish People's Party arrange rallies concerning law and order; these rallies are backed by advertising campaigns in the tabloids B.T. and Ekstra Bladet in October. The party wants to advocate more money to the police and the Ministry of Justice, a reduction of the age of criminal responsibility to twelve years and a number of tightenings of the penal code. The fact that the crime rate is still falling does not affect the Danish People's Party. The party's P.R. executive Søren Espersen declares to Information on September 17th: "Some fluctuations up or down do not change the fact that this is a serious problem."

The advertising campaign consists, among other things, of statements from average Danes who express their fear and concern for the violence and quotations from the coverage of various cases of violence in the tabloids - concluded with the slogan: "We will no longer put up with this!"

The expenses for the campaign are close to one million kroner; these are covered by the public support for the parties, because in principle they can be spent "any way we want", as Espersen declares to Information.

One of the advertising examples was taken from a case of violence where a man knocked down three innocents.The article ends by observing that witnesses dare not come forward for fear of the perpetrator. This example, however, was taken from an article in Ekstra Bladet which is almost 21/2 years old and the perpetrator was apprehended and imprisoned more than two years ago!

Chief superintendent Arne Astrup from Valby finds that the advert abuses the case since it was solved a long time ago: "I think it's wrong to use a case which is two years and four months old. It's not fair play - and people in the area get insecure." (B.T., October 15th).

The case was actually solved because witnesses came forward and identified the perpetrator.

Confronted with the solution of the case, Søren Espersen denies that there is a problem in using an old case which has been solved because of witnesses and depicting it as an example of people's fear of witnessing. Espersen believes that the case might as well have been new: "There are lots of examples in the tabloids the last days - it's like a river of blood."

Like a river of blood. Exaggeration is supposed to promote understanding - what is promoted by propaganda creating more unfounded fear?

Subsequently it is even revealed that the adverts of the Danish People's Party, according to Ekstra Bladet, contain "misquotes, erroneous sources and perhaps even invented quotes ..." (Ekstra Bladet on October 30). For instance, the adverts of the Danish People's Party quote an article from Ekstra Bladet - the only problem is that this article was never published in Ekstra Bladet. Confronted with this manipulation Espersen is not happy to confess - instead he claims that the advert text is a compilation of articles from Ekstra Bladet and Dagbladet Djursland. Ekstra Bladet points out, though, that "many quotes in the advert are not found in the articles of Dagbladet Djursland either."

Finally, the badly pressed P.R. executive of the Danish People's party begin to surremnder: "Our advert is a toned down version of the article published in Ekstra Bladet. We haven't even mentioned the black man referred to in Ekstra Bladet's article," says Espersen, whereupon journalist Morten Trøst Poulsen has to correct him once again: "Nothing is said about a black man. It says that the police are looking for a man in a car with foreign license plates."

"But didn't it say his hair was black?" is the subsequent attempt of Espersen ...

The newspaper terminates its article with these words: "We shall spare the readers for further explanations. The end of it is that Søren Espersen promises to publish a retraction in Ekstra Bladet as soon as possible."


Tear gas against peaceful demonstrators because the police officer in charge "had his outlook limited by his gas mask"

During an anti-Nazi demonstration in Greve on August 15th, the police attacked the about 1,500 peaceful demonstrators by mistake, acknowledges Hanne Bech Hansen, commisioner of the Copenhagen police.

Berlingske Tidende sums up the answer from the commisioner of police to the complaint from the Anti-Racist Network on September 23rd: "The mistake was, among other things, due to the fact that the police officer in charge had his outlook limited by his gas mask. As a consequence, the tear gas intended for trouble makers hit the peaceful demonstration."

In spite of the fact that the police officer in charge wears his gas mask in a somewhat bizarre way so that he apparently cannot see and subsequently orders the tear gas discharged, Bech Hansen finds no reason to criticize the procedure.

Peter Tudvad of the Anti-Racist Network is not satisfied with the explanation and will complain to the Minister of Justice. In Berlingske Tidende he declares: "There are many fundamental things that should be taken hold of here. We were not, as prescribed in article 80 in the Constitution, warned about the gas attack. And it's sad to observe that the right of assembly was only enjoyed by the Nazies while the peaceful demonstrants had their right of assembly destroyed by tear gas."


The Mayor for Cultural Affairs in Copenhagen: "A municipal Negro came by..."

The mayor for Cultural Affairs in Copenhagen, the conservative Hans Thustrup Hansen, wants more municipal tasks to be privatized. As an example of bad public service he relates how his mother had to suffer the humiliation of getting "a municipal Negro" as a home help - something no private company would have allowed, as the mayor emphasizes.

In the Copenhagen supplement of Jyllands-Posten on September 27, he declares: "In my mother's last year she was dependent of municipal home help. And who did they send? A Negro. A municipal Negro of 21 came and changed the diaper of a lady of 84. She felt insecure and hardly dared let him in. That is a lack of feeling for the sentiments of the customers, that's what it is."

When Thustrup Hansen is reported for violating the so-called racism article, he observes in Politiken on September 9th: "My mother was afraid that a Negro would poke around in her abdomen. Everyody can understand that - it has nothing to do with racism."


The Public Prosecutor will abolish compensation for unjustified body search - the Supreme Court takes the first step

Public Prosecutor Henning Fode wants to abolish compensation for unjustified body searches performed by the police. The demand comes after a case in the Supreme Court concerning 1,500 claims for compensation from bikers who were searched without sufficient grounds. Apart from bikers, the abolition of compensation will also include street pushers, Nazis, violent football fans, people from autonomous groups, street gangs and aggressive people in queues before discos who all "will have to put up with 'brief on-site measures' without receiving an apology in cash", writes Politiken on October 2nd.

Henning Fode's opponents in the Supreme Court case reject the measure. Thomas Rørdam believes that the legal protection will be weakened and declares to Politike: "The rules of compensation exist to avoid that the authorities commit arbitrary infringements." Torben Bagge says to the same newspaper: "This will actually mean that the police will always be able to search people. The next time it will be participants in a labor conflict or a demonstration."

The Supreme Court approaches the wishes of the Public Prosecutor on October 15th when it rejects all claims for compensation for body search performed during the armed conflict between Bandidos and Hells Angels. The decision comes in spite of the fact that all citizens have a right to be compensated for an unjustified search, and thus yet another principal exception for "special cases" is added to Danish legal practise.

On October 16th, lawyer Torben Bagge declares to Aktuelt: "This verdict gives the police a blank checque. It is a sign of a very serious turn to the right."


The mortality is 25 times as high as normal for homeless women

According to an investigation from the Institute for Social Research, young men and women in shelters have a mortality rate 25 and 14 times that of young women and men of the same age.

Out of 1,000 men and women in the age 18-35 years who were admitted to shelters, welfare homes or crisis centres, 140 have died during the last 7-8 years.

Master of political science Tobias Børner Stax of the Institute for Social Research declares to Århus Stiftstidende on October 5th: "It is very shocking that one in seven died during seven or eight years and that the oldest were no more than 42. This shows how expulsed and betrayed the weakest in our society are."

Berlingske Tidende writes on October 3rd: "According to psychiatrist Preben Brandt nobody knows the exact number of homeless in Denmark but he believes that there are between 5,000 and 6,000 homeless in Copenhagen alone, and the number is increasing constantly."


Muslim women physically thrown out from a day school for wearing a headscarf and for refusing to participate in pelvic exercises with men

The Danish Muslim Kristina Khadija Wistoft was physically thrown out from the day school Intercultural Centre in Århus becuase she insisted on wearing a headscarf and refused to participate in pelvic exercises with men.

19-year-old Khadija Wistoft says to Ekstra Bladet on October 9th: "Even though we had an agreement with the games master, the manager wanted to force me to do gymnastics without a headscarf and to do some exercises - pelvic exercises and leg exercises - that I felt very bad about doing in front of the young men in the group. Among other things because we couldn't do them without exposing ourselves."

Khadija also tells about the manager of the day school: "The manager accosted us with unpleasant questions. Among other things she asked us if we were victims of incest since we didn't want to expose ourselves in front of young men. She laughed at us and called us 'hippie Muslims'."


Discriminating Danish Aliens Act with lower benefits for refugees is put on probation by the UN

The new Aliens Act that gives recently arrived single refugees 2,000 kroner less to live for each month than single Danes receiving welfare was in August severely criticized by the UNHCR for violating the Convention concerning the Status of Refugee which Denmark has ratified. Minister of the Interior Thorkild Simonsen refused to consider the criticism at first: "I'll ask the bosses in Geneva whether this is a fair way to treat a country that supports them a lot." (Information, August 14th).

The minister soon had to go to Geneva to negotiate with the UNHCR, however, and few days later a joint statement was presente, stating: "The Danish Minister of the Interior and the UNHCR have agreed that it will be useful to make a joint examination of not only the Danish Aliens Act, but also the Danish social legislation in order to investigate the compliance of the Convention concerning the Status of Refugee." According to Information on August 18th, the UNHCR still maintains that "it is a judicial fact that cannot be changed that the Aliens Act violates the Convention and that cannot be changed."

In the meantime, Simonsen has been trying to keep his law and satisfy Denmark's international obligations. In a passing phase a model was used according to which the integration benefit was rechristened, for instance to "labor market arrangement", as Politiken informs on August 25th, since the Convention concerning the Status of Refugee allows a certain discrimination if the benefits have to do with the labor market but not if they are a part of the social legislation.

Now, however, the parties have reached another compromise. The UNHCR will give the Act a probation period of six months, after which they will conclude whether the Convention has been respected or not. For the government has presented a number of models acording to which the Integration Act give refugees the same condtitions as Danes even though the integration benefit is twenty per cent lower than the welfare benefits. The computation works provided that some of the expenses for Danish classes for the refugees are included and provided that refugees have 10 hours' work a week after one years' integration and 20 hours' work a week after two years' integration.

But the probability that refugees should find so much work is quite unrealistic according to Ruth Syshøj, chairman of the National Association of Occupational Consultants: "They don't get a job before they learn Danish. And especially not after one year. It's difficult enough to find jobs for those who have been here for several years." (Information, October 27th).

And if no jobs are found for the refugees, Simonsen's calculation will fall apart, according to Information: "If the refugee is more than 25 there will be a significant difference in the amount of money in their pocket each month compared to Danes on welfare benefit. Families with children have 85 per cent of what a Danish family on welfare receives. If they have no children, the refugees get even less. A couple with no children will get about two thirds - 68 per cent - of what a Danish couple on welfare would get. And a single person gets less than half - 44 per cent - of what a Dane in the same situation has to live for."

Professors at the National School of Social Work Morten Ejrnæs and Simon Thorbek also believe that the Ministry of the Interior is misleading the UNHCR and have written a letter to the high comissariat in order to point this out. In Jyllands-Posten on November 14th, Morten Ejrnæs declares: "The memorandum and annex are encumbered with serious errors and deficiencies and the family type calculations are based on wholly unrealistic assumptions."

But Simonsen appears to make quite different assumptions when doing the calculation. Whether the probability of inheritance, lottery prizes or gifts from a rich uncle are included in order to equalize the discriminating difference in public benefits is nor obvious in the computational models of the Ministry of the Interior.


The Army must investigate whether the Army Intelligence Service committed unlawful acts

The information that colonel Erik Fournais, chief of Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (the army's intelligence service), supposedly passed on information concerning conscientious objectors to the conservative MP Knud Østergaard in 1971 is to be investigated by the judge advocate general, the highest military prosecutor.

Spokesman for defence of the Radical Left Jørgen Estrup is concerned and says to Politiken on October 13th: "Fundamentally it's always a problem if an authority examines itself, and the military prosecutors are part of the army."

In the same newspaper, the party's spokesman of legal affairs Elisabeth Arnold adds: "This is not a impartial investigation and it is not satisfactory."


The intelligence service AIC of the Social Democratic Party registered and bugged Communists and passed on the information to the USA until 1972

"Every stone must be turned," said Minister of Justice Frank Jensen after the many scandals concerning PET (the Danish police intelligence service) this spring. Here is another stone that it will be thrilling to see the Minister of Justice and the government turn:

The unofficial intelligence of the Social Democratic Party and the labor movement, Arbejderbevægelsens Informations Central (AIC, "the labor movement's information central") which operated from World War II until 1972, registered Communists in order to ensure that they did not acquire too much power in the labor movement.

Business historian at the Copenhagen Business School, Ph.D. Kurt Jacobsen declares in Politiken on October 25th: "The AIC was an extremely well organized service - it was informed who was a Communist through the shop stewards in the companies and was thus able to register them. The key to the whole surveillance effort lies in the social democrats' fear of Communists. First of all they were afraid that the Communists would get too much power within the labor movement. Secondly, they believed that the Communists constituted a real threat against national security."

Kurt Jacobsen finds the registration "alarming" and has the following comment to AIC's cooperation with official intelligence services: "In the American archives there are documents which prove that there was a very close cooperation between the official Danish intelligence services, the CIA, the Social Democratic Party and the labor movement."

On November 1st, Politiken writes that an anti-Communist network within the Social Democratic Party managed the intelligence work with the explicit blessing of the leading party members: "In the more decent section they sent out social democratic propaganda. In the shady parts they bugged rooms and worked with deliberate disinformation."

Alongside the AIC there was a so-called third service or The Company which was headed by Arne Sejr. Throughout a decade the Company bugged the Communist MPs Alfred Jensen and Ragnhild Andersen and also sent out "black letters" to leading members of the Communist party in order to increase the internal disagreements in the party which ended with the removal of chairman Aksel Larsen and the party's disruption in 1958. The Company collaborated closely with the second in command of the military intelligence service and not till 1963 was the leader of the FE, colonel H.M. Lunding, given six ring binders with transcripts of the monitoring.

No Minister of Defence has been able to find the ring binders since, however.

Niels Frommelt, who is 77 years old today, says to Politiken: "The intention was to promote disruption within the party. This could be achieved by spreading suspicions against some person or other. (...) I am not ashamed of what I did. I know that H.C. Hansen [Prime Minister at the time] had approved our actions."

The Company's collaboration with the AIC is confirmed by Frommelt, and the fact that information from the AIC ended in the hands of the American authorities is confirmed by Per Møller, secretary in the AIC from 1961 to 1966 - Møller, however, is of the opinion that the AIC only registered the relative strengths of the social democrats and Communists in the trade unions, not the individual members of the Communist party.

The AIC had no less than 6,000 informants and shop stewards in several workplaces. In the top of the social democratic intelligence service were a business manager and three secretaries - an extremely good jumping-off ground for obtaining influential positions in the party. For instance, Urban Hansen was promoted directly from a position as a secretary in the AIC to that of social mayor in Copenhagen and later became Chief Burgomaster; Niels Alsing Andersen was business manager for the AIC and became hospital mayor in Copenhagen; Jørgen Frederiksen, secretary in the AIC, ended as hospital mayor in Copenhagen; Helge Nielsen, secretary and business manager in the AIC, ended as Minister of Housing; Per Møller, secretary in the AIC, ended as mayor in Rødovre; Kjeld Olesen, member of the executive committee of the AIC, ended as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Per Møller cooperated closely with the AIC when he was a consultant in the Home Guard from 1969 to 1979. Money from the Home Guard was spent on courses for the AIC in support of the common struggle against the Communists. Today, Møller says: "They were the enemy so this is obvious. We had the money. The AIC had none. So we arranged courses and conferences where AIC paid one third and the Home Guard two thirds. The condition was that they had to be about foreign policy or defence policy."



The wages of 250,000 Danes have debts to the authorities deduced

A documentary program in TV3 on November 1st informs that 250,000 danes have money deduced from their private accounts avery month because they owe money to the authorities -"with no consideration at all for what's left for people to live for".

In the program, a bailiff from Copenhagen tells that most of the places where he comes to take possession of the household effects of debtors, there is nothing at all to get: "Over 90 per cent of the places I come there's nothing I can take. It's incredibly poor."


Nearly 90 per cent of Danish drug users are infected with Hepatitis C

Jørgen Kjær, vice chairman of the Danish Drug User's Organization, is interviewed in Politiken on November 1st and informs that the vast majority of drug addicts live a miserable life where only medical prescription of heroin will avail: "They live on the streets and make a living by small-scale pushing, crime and prostitution. They are seriously ill - nearly 90 per cent are infected with Hepatitis C which is able to cause cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. They only live for their next fix, have been through numerous failed attempts of treatment and have no patience for methadone. If society wishes to reach these people it is necessary to meet them where they are. And by offering them heroin they would get the energy to think their situation over. They would stop being addicts and become users."

The authorities' usual weaning of addicts to a drug freee life may have positive effects for some but definitely not for all, and therefore it is not an alternative to the legalization of drugs: "... The treatment is still not broad enough to embrace all. Especially not that kind of treatment which resembles the way they train élite soldiers in the army. They have a philosophy that people have to be broken and built again - that they must be confronted with their past, come to terms with reality and so on. For some people, this experience is far too tough. This can be deduced from the many "pause deaths" - when people die from taking a fix after a period of abstinence:"

Jørgen Kjær believes that the ordinary sentiments towards addicts are unfortunately characterized by repulsion than with understanding: "I'm basically unable to understand or explain the repulsion people feel towards addicts. I don't know - I've certainly noticed that a hollow-cheeked, round-shouldered and shabbily dressed drug addict inspires a vehement repulsion in people. Not compassion."


The prisoner's spokesmen in Vridsløselille: The prison officers' warnings against "insurrection" is mere speculation in increased appropriations

In the TV News at 21.00 hours on November 2nd, Esben Olsen, leader of the prison officer's association at Vridsløselille warns about a "smouldering insurrection" from the so-called strong prisoners claimed to control the prison. The spokesmen of the prisoners deny the whole description, however, and invite journalists to a meeting where the officer's association and the group of spokesmen might discuss the conditions - nobody wanted to receive the invitation, though.

In a press release the leader of the spokesman group emphasizes that Esben Olsen's account is "as far from reality as it can get" and that absolutely nothing points towards an insurrection: "on the contrary, our days pass so smoothly and calmly that most people would probably be surprised."

The common spokesman in Vridsløselille believes that the motivation of the officer's association to invent stories about an "insurrection" - stories that conveniently appear just as the State Budget is being discussed - is nothing more than a wish for increased appropriations: "It is the sacred duty of any association to get more jobs and more funds for its members and in our opinion that is what this is all about. Once again we are being used as a lever for the wishes of the officer's association. Apart from being unacceptable this is also distasteful when disinformation is being communicated to the public."


PET wanted to cover up the leak of internal documents to the Danish League

In 1992, police officer Jan Simonsen was convicted for leaking a confidential police document to the Danish League [a xenophobic group belonging to the extreme right wing of danish politics]. This was not the only document that was leaked, however, and the Travelling Section of the national police was put on the case to find out who else might be providing the Danish League with confidential documents. In the news on TV2 on November 2nd Frede Farmand reveals that PET's Århus department [PET is the police intelligence service] did not want the investigation to reveal the identity of the league's PET informant.

On TV, Farmand plays a tape recording from 1992 where he and detective inspector Verny Thomsen from PET agree to bug an interrrogation performed by detective inspector Tom Christensen from the Travelling Section with the purpose of finding out how much the Travelling Section knew about the case.

On November 3rd, Ekstra Bladet writes: "During the case, the Travelling Section's detective got hold of so much internal information about PET's agents and informants that people in the intelligence service decided to stop him."

Chief inspector Per Kanding, leader of the Travelling Section of the national polici declares to the same newspaper: "If this is true I find it both strange and alarming. I never heard of anything like it."

The Travelling Section never revealed the identity of the person or persons responsible for leaking the rest of the confidential documents to the Danish League.

In Ekstra Bladet on November 11 PET leader Birgitte Stampe, who has examined the case since it appeared in the media: "We haven't found out what's true and what's not in this case. We're still investigating"

Psychatric patients are committed under poor control from the courts

On November 11th, Jyllands-Posten writes: "Psychiatric patients have a constitutional right to contest that a medical decision of imprisonment is in accordance with the rules, but this court control is practically suspended, concludes lawyer Vibeke Hauberg."

Hauberg has examined all the accessible practise in cases concerning administrative imprisonment and concludes that only 1,5 per cent of the cases tried at court lead to a suspension of the imprisonment. According to the preliminary work leading to the Psychiatry Act, the courts must make "a complete verification both formally and materially, also of the more or less estimated elements that might be a part of the criteria for the imprisonment" - this happens very rarely since the courts practically always follow the recomendation for commitment.

Hauberg says to Jyllands-Posten: "... other things being equal, the lack of control increases the risk that people are committed in situations where it might have been avoided."

Hauberg is now waiting for the results of the new Psychiatry Act which will be effective from the turn of the year and hopes for an improvement of the legal position of the psychiatric patients.

People voluntarily admitted to psychiatric hospitals have no guarantee against constraint either, writes Jyllands-Posten on October 16th. In the light of a new study from the Psychiatric Hospital in Århus it is concluded that "more than a third of those voluntarily admitted in psychiatric hospitals are not free to leave the area. Even so, these limitations of movement are not registered as constraint towards the patients." Apart from not being allowed to leave the patients risk compulsory bathing and prohibition against using the telephone and sending and recieving.

Bente Djørup, leader of the association Sind says to the same newspaper: "We have to create a debate concerning the invisible constraint. The visible contraint implies certain rights for the patient. The invisible constraint does not. That does not mean that this kind of constraint is never necessary. But it must not be a hidden agenda that appears as soon as you enter the hospital voluntarily. It hurts so much on those who are exposed to it. They feel trapped."


New prisons for 4,5 billion kroner with special wards for mafia-like organizations and terrorists

In November, Minister of Justice Frank Jensen publishes a report that suggests that practically all the country's closed prisons should be closed and new "up-to-date" prisons are built during the next 25 years. According to the plans, 6 or 7 new regional gaols and two smaller "acute houses" for custody or appearance in court.

Horsens Statsfængsel must be closed before 2004 in order to be replaced by two so-called flexible jails with special wards for "strong prisoners". The problems with "strong prisoners" are still so acute that isolated special wards should be established at once in Nyborg and Horsens. On November 14th, Jyllands-Posten writes: "... finally the report estimates that a small number of inmates will be difficult to place: Persons from mafia-like organizations, terrorists and persons likely to escape."

Frits Christensen, chairman of the Danish Prison Association mentions the report as "all in all, wishful thinking."

The concept of "strong prisoners" has repeatedly been contested by the inmates themselves, however, without that fact having any effect at all on the politicians - and nearly no effect in the media, for that matter. Similarly, jurists, lawyers and criminologists have often emphasized that all mention of mafia-like or other organized crime in Denmark is exaggerated.

In Jyllands-Posten on November 11th, the criminologist Joi Bay says: "The concept [of organized crime] was introduced in the early nineties even though the crimes committed did not change. It is an exaggeration of the crime in our country. In the same newspaper, professor of Penal Law Vagn Greve says: "It's a part of the eternal game. In order to get more powers and more money the police and the prosecution convert the existing crime to a bogey man."

So the question is how honest it is to argue for "special wards" referring to so-called mafia-like crime, not to speak of "terrorists"?

By Rune Engelbreth Larsen
Translated by Carsten Agger