The Torch


The Torch (Danish: Faklen.dk) 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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Rune Engelbreth Larsen
The Cartoon Crisis and the Danish Prime Minister


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


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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

SEPTEMBER 1999 – NOVEMBER 1999


Pax Americana

On Danish state television's DR1 channel's text service, on Sept. 4th 1999 it was stated: "Relations between Norway and the USA will be damaged, if Norway does not buy F-16 planes from the USA. Dain M. Hancock, chief of Lockheed Martin's fighter division, which produces F16s, said this. If Norway does buy European fighters instead of American ones, it will be the first time. And the US will regard this as a political action, which shows that Norway favours Europe over the US when it comes to foreign and defence policy, says Hancock to Aftenposten. The seriousness of the situation is highlighted by the fact that the American president Bill Clinton is expected to raise the subject with Norway's Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik when he visits the US in October."

Instances of forced medication have tripled in four years

New figures from the Danish National Board of Health (Sundhedsstyrelsen) show, that in 1998 there were recorded 9,628 cases of forced medication, as opposed to 3,469 cases four years earlier (source: Politiken 9.9).

Anne Baastrup, foreman for the committee that oversees psychiatric departments, criticised the rise, as described by Berlingske Tidende the 12.9: "She ascribes this in particular to the fact that many of the departments are over occupied. This puts pressure on staff, causes stress and makes the patients uneasy. On top of this, Anne Baastrup points out that upwards of 300 patients have completed their treatment and could be discharged, thereby easing pressure on the departments. But there is a lack of suitable accommodation (...) She refers to the fact that it is difficult to build "protected housing" due to, amongst other reasons, the reluctance of local communities to have such dwellings in their area."

Ekstra Bladet informs the 22.10 that instances of forced medication have risen from roughly 1,000 cases in 1990 to almost 10,000 cases in 1998; that the use of electric shock therapy has risen from almost 100 cases in 1990, to upwards of 200 in 1998 (after having peaked at 300 in 1997), and that forced restraint is used in more than 6,000 cases today as opposed to 4,000 cases in 1990. The overall number of instances where force is used in Danish psychiatric departments has doubled from 1990 to 1998, from approximately 15,000 to 30,000 (figures from the Danish National Board of Health).

Denmark part of eavesdropping network Echelon?

Echelon is the code name for a global eavesdropping network, with an unknown number of listening stations under the control of the USA's largest intelligence agency, the National Security Agency (NSA). Numerous reporters and a long list of former employees from diverse intelligence services have documented the existence of the network, which with the help of specially developed computer systems and electronic dictionaries, in every conceivable language, eavesdrop on and register, telecommunications traffic through telecommunication satellites the world over, both text and speech, i.e. all telephone-, fax- and computer traffic. The Echelon systems include thousands of "suspicious" search words that are automatically recorded and registered for later analysis by experts.

NSA's headquarters are situated at Fort Mead, Maryland. It employs 25,000 people, with a further 25,000 in the rest of the US and other countries.

Despite the fact that five reporters have documented the existence of Echelon to the European parliament, there were no forthcoming admissions from the Echelon-countries as to the reality of the eavesdropping network, until the departing chief of Australia's, "Defence Signal Directorate" Martin Brady, in a number of letters addressed to Australian television, made public the fact that a listening station in Western Australia was part of Echelon.

Physicist and journalist, Nicky Hager, who has written the book Secret Power based on conversations with 50 intelligence people, particularly from the New Zealand intelligence service "Government Communications Security Bureau", is not for one moment in doubt about the existence of Echelon: "Yes, Echelon exists. I have hundreds of pages of interviews from conversations with people from New Zealand's intelligence service, who have described down to the minutest detail, how the system functions in New Zealand (...) It's my impression that the major part of the eavesdropping taking place is political." (Information, 9.9.)

Mike Frost, who was previously employed in the bugging of foreign embassy's telecommunication systems for the Canadian intelligence service, "Canadian Security Establishment" confirmed to the same newspaper that it was primarily the bugging of political and economic interests that Echelon was concerned with.

In the meantime, in February '99, Justice Minister Frank Jensen categorically denied any knowledge of the eavesdropping network to the parliamentary EU committee: "Danish intelligence- and police authorities have no knowledge of an a American eavesdropping network by the name of Echelon." (Quoted in Information, 15.9)

During the summer, the Justice Minister repeated this position, though maybe with a little softening: "I have no knowledge of any Echelon-collaboration. As far as Denmark is concerned, we do not participate in any Echelon-collaboration. That is not the same as saying, that there are not other countries who might do so." (Quoted in Berlingske Tidende, 15.9.) In the meantime, shortly prior to this, the senior American scientist and intelligence expert, Jeffrey T. Richelson speaking on "Mandat" a Danish radio program, claimed that Denmark has for quite a number of years, taken part in UKUSA, which is the international organisation behind the eavesdropping network controlled by NSA.

According to Richelson, the UKUSA has existed since the Second World War; originally as a collaboration between the USA and Britain, though joined later by Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as so-called second level collaborative partners, while NATO-countries like Denmark, at least through the 1980's, joined as third-level collaborative partners, who according to Richelson do not participate in the gathering of electronic data, though do receive them.

Nevertheless, Denmark's Justice-, Defence- and Research and Information Technology Ministers, categorically deny any knowledge of Echelon. In July of 1999, a spokesperson for the DDIS -- Danish Defence Intelligence Service (Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste), lieutenant colonel Birger Hoff, made the following comment: "If we make an agreement with another intelligence service, the public are told nothing. As to what degree we keep the Minister informed is a question between the Minister and the DDIS." (Ekstra Bladet, 6.6.)

The debate surrounding Echelon gathered some serious momentum for the first time, in connection with the Scottish physicist and data security expert, Duncan Campbell's visit to Denmark in September. Campbell is author of the report Interception Capabilities 2000, which was prepared for the Director General for Research of the European Parliament's "Scientific and Technical Options Assessment programme office" (STOA) and based on observations from former intelligence sources and leaked confidential documents.

Campbell estimates that the DDIS's listening station "Afladshage" on Amager south of Copenhagen is, from a technical point of view, capable of being integrated into the Echelon network: "...the installation is of exactly the same character as a similar Echelon-station in New Zealand -- only bigger." (Quoted in Berlingske Tidende, 15.9.) The listening station on Amager employs approximately 1,000 and has a budget in the tens of millions of dollars, calculates Information the 18,9, from a revision of available but unspecified figures.

During a consultation in the parliamentary EU committee, Defence Minister Hans Hækkerup again denied any knowledge of Echelon, but admitted that the DDIS do participate in the eavesdropping on and distribution of, electronic communication. Keld Albrechtsen from the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) commented after the consultation: "The Minister informed us that these type of satellite systems do exist, and that Denmark is involved. Though not that its name is Echelon. He also informed us that we have the capacity to collect and exchange information with other country's espionage agencies." (Ekstra Bladet, 18.9.)

Campbell commented to the same newspaper: "If you want to bug someone, than you must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and a warrant from a judge. Echelon completely breaks with these principles (...) The code-name Echelon is only part of the complete system and all indications are that they've changed code. The most recent designation that I have knowledge of is Magistrand."

Amongst others, the American telephone company Ameritech co-operates with the NSA and delivers eavesdropping material to Echelon. Ameritech is also the owner of Tele Danmark, which it bought in 1997. Tele Danmark's Chief of Corporate Security, Jørgen Bo Madsen, who in contrast to the accountable politicians, makes no secret of his certainty of the existence of Echelon -- says in addition: "I am well aware of the fact that there is an eavesdropping terminal at Ameritech on international communication. But that is something the NSA has insisted upon. That doesn't mean that they have a pipeline into Tele Danmark. (Information, 13.9.)

In the meantime, a couple of weeks later Ekstra Bladet informs that Tele Danmark and a list of other international data- and telephone companies have, since 1992, been members of the organisation "Frame Relay Forum", which sets the international standard for the transfer of data. According to the newspaper, "Frame Relay Forum" works directly with the NSA. Tele Danmark's Chief of Corporate Security, Jørgen Bo Madsen, says that Tele Danmark has not sent delegates to any of the meetings the last 3-4 years and in his opinion, it can not be described as a collaboration with the NSA even though the NSA are participating: "I know absolutely nothing of this forum, but I can't imagine that there is a collaboration between Tele Danmark and the NSA, just because there is a man from the NSA listening in at the table (...) but I am surprised that they are there in this connection." (Ekstra Bladet, 26.9.)

However, "Frame Relay Forum" is well known by another employee of Tele Danmark, Chief of Planning Jens Ulrik Mouritsen -- who is in fact "Frame Relay Forum's" Danish contact person. To the same newspaper, he commented: "I receive information from the Forum, but do not participate in the meetings (...) I'm only along to see what happens".

Member of the European Parliament for the Radical Liberal Party (Radikale Venster), Lone Dybkjær, criticises the government's dismissive attitude towards the numerous indications of Echelon's existence: "I think that somebody should now prove that Echelon does not exist. The burden of proof has been shifted. One cannot continue to say that 'I have no knowledge of Echelon'." (Information, 16.9.)

That the Danish government was not speaking the truth, when it categorically denied any knowledge of Echelon, was indirectly exposed by the Minister for Research and Information Technology, Birte Weiss, when on the 3rd Oct. she informed the parliamentary committee for research, that her ministry had knowledge of Campbell's EU- report on Echelon, at least since January, that is to say; four months prior to it's publication. Thereby exposing the fact that the then Minister, Jan Trøjborg, lied when on the 12th Feb. he said: "Apart from the widespread press coverage, there is no knowledge within the Research Ministry to the Echelon system in question, neither of any Danish connection to such a system." (Quoted in Ekstra Bladet, 6.10.)

Indeed, it is rather difficult to find out "what is happening" from official sources, in the tangled web which has seemingly been spun by the NSA -- though that there is enough going on to keep them decidedly busy, must now be considered patently obvious.

Minister of Social Affairs Karen Jespersen: "We should have listened to Per Madsen..."

An opinion poll conducted by Sonar shows that Danes are becoming increasingly opposed to Islam. 56% of Danes consider the roughly 130,000 Muslims in Denmark as "a threat to the Danish religion and culture" (Source: Jyllands-Posten, 26.9.) A similar Sonar-Poll conducted in 1997 put the figure at 46%. The greatest resistance to Islam is to be found among the voters of the Danish People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti), where the figure is a predictable 94%.

Another Sonar-inquiry shows, that 48% would "react negatively" if a Muslim woman, wearing a headscarf, were to work the checkout at the supermarket (source: Jyllands-Posten, 30.9.).

A third Sonar-inquiry shows, that 41% of Danes want refugee- and immigration policy put to the people in a referendum (source: Jyllands-Posten, 3.10.). Among Danish People's Party voters, 88% are in favour of a referendum.

Jørgen Bæk Simonsen , leader of the Carsten Niebuhr Institute at Copenhagen University, sees a growing cultural racism in Denmark: "For more than ten years I have been travelling the length and breadth of the country, holding talks on Muslims and Islam and for the most part I have never experienced any actual racist attitude in Denmark. On the other hand, I do experience a form of cultural racism, where the negative attitude to Muslims is "packed in" in politically correct attitudes, e.g. the position of women in society. And this attitude is obviously, that Islamic culture is inferior to Danish culture. But this is caused to a large degree by the fact that the Danes cannot or will not hear what Muslims are saying." (Jyllands-Posten, 26.9.)

Minister of social affairs Karen Jespersen is probably a perfect example of this "not actually racist", but "culturally racist" attitude, draped in the mantle of politically correct opinions and beliefs: "It is a big mistake to view the cultural differences as something symbolic, on a par with our "roast pork" and "Christmas Day". For many immigrants, it's a question of completely different norms, not least in attitudes towards women. It simply won't do: If immigrants want to remain in this country, then they have to be part of Danish society. This does not mean that they have to cast aside all of their culture, but basically they have to learn to function under the terms of the Danish society." (B.T., 22,10.) Karen Jespersen continues: "We must likewise go on the offensive against the extremely intolerant attitude some immigrants display towards Danes. For example, hassling girls that wear oversized trousers, or boys that dress differently than they do themselves. In a worst-case scenario, it could end with gangs of young immigrants terrorising a local community. I have unfortunately myself experienced a very prejudicial attitude towards Danes. This could result in very dangerous and heavy-handed conflicts, because of course; Danes will not accept this in the long run (...) It was a major betrayal of young immigrants, that the Danish society quietly accepted such reprehensible practices as arranged marriages and forced marriages. From the Danish point of view, many saw it as a "cultural peculiarity" which immigrants should be allowed to practice. Instead of going on the offensive against these misogynist attitudes."

In the same interview, the minister of social affairs maintains that "We should have listened to Per Madsen" Ishøj's Social Democratic Lord Mayor (Ishøj is a satellite town to Copenhagen). "He drew attention to these problems at a very early stage -- and was very unpopular. But he was proved to be more right than we were prepared to give him credit for at the time."

This Per Madsen, who Karin Jespersen is now bringing in from the cold, is the same individual who in The Danish Society's (Danske Forenings) member's journal, amongst other things, expressed the view that "Muslims are still living in the middle ages, with an oppression of women and female culture which is unheard of in this country. Women are bought and sold as if they were cattle, and women are beaten and mistreated" (Danskeren [The Dane] no.1, 1989, p.3).

The Social Democratic leadership have certainly shifted position in the course of the last ten years. Right into the arms of The Danish Society's stereotypical image of foreigners as the enemy -- even though the Social Minister still makes a mild effort to make it seem more palatable.

Denmark amongst Europe's toughest countries when it comes to punishing violence

Politicians from a number of Danish political parties would like to see an increase in the tariff meted out by the courts for crimes of violence, but according to an investigation from the Council of Europe, Denmark already punishes these crimes tougher than practically every other European country.

Six out of ten cases of violence in Denmark, end with the assailant going to prison. In Sweden, Norway and Germany, sanctions are often milder -- in Germany it is only six cases out of a hundred that end with the assailant receiving a prison sentence (source: Politiken, 26.9.).

Professor of Law, Flemming Balvig comments on the investigation: "These figures shatter the illusion that Denmark is a flabby humanist paradise that is far too soft on violence. We punish violence hard -- much harder than other European countries." (Jyllands-Posten, 27.9.)

Proposal from the Danish People's Party: Collective punishment for immigrant families

At the Danish People's Party's annual conference, party leader Pia Kjærsgaard proposed; that whole refugee- and immigrant families should be deported, if their children repeatedly commit crime: "Ghetto-criminality today, is of such character and of such an expanse, that it is necessary to employ completely new methods, which up to now we have not had a need for in our country. The Danish People's Party proposes, that in the case of a young second- or maybe third generation immigrant, who repeatedly commits crime and where no rehabilitation is possible, Yea, then we deport and repatriate, not only him, but his whole family as well. That is the only thing they respect." (Berlingske Tidende, 3.10.)

A creative break with normal jurisprudence: punish people for crimes, they did not commit.

Police Prejudice

According to a doctoral thesis financed by the Royal Danish Police (Rigspolitiet) and penned by anthropologist Lars Holmberg, from the faculty of law at Copenhagen University, the conduct of the police force in their daily work is characterized by a pronounced prejudice.

Jyllands-Posten comments the 3.10: "A large portion of the Danish police force's work is based on stereotypical and discriminatory preconceptions about what criminals look like -- and don't look like. Young immigrants, or people that resemble bikers, because they have beards and wear their caps with the peaks to the rear -- risk for example, being stopped and controlled on a far more regular basis than others. And often, the police look the other way, when respectable Danes commit minor offences for which immigrants and biker types would be punished."

The doctoral thesis, which has been published in book form under the title "Within the Confines of the Law" (Inden for lovens rammer), is written on the basis of observations Holmberg has made in the Glostrup police district of Copenhagen, over the course of eight months. Holmberg ascertains, that Glostrup Police operate with two categories of people: "Assholes" (the criminals or those, who look like criminals) and "Mr. and Mrs. Denmark" (also called the good Danish citizens).

To Jyllands-Posten Holmberg said that he sees the problem as unavoidable: "For the officers, discrimination is a tool. It is their view, that people who behave in a certain manner or who have a certain persona, are almost asking to be stopped. For those who are repeatedly and unjustifiably detained in this manner, it must be an extreme inconvenience. But for the officers, it is the only way the can gain access to the criminals. In my view, there is a problem – but it is an unavoidable problem, and one must not forget that it sometimes works."

Glostrup's Chief Constable, Jørn Bro, does not feel that the results of the thesis are in any way odious. To the same newspaper, he commented: "We are just like experienced doctors: When a patient comes into the consultation room, an experienced doctor can see right away what the trouble is. In the same way, an experienced officer can often see, who and what it is that confronts him. There is most definitely a difference made between people -- and it is obvious, that there are some inbuilt problems in the methods used by the police, which we should be very heedful of."

Holmberg concludes amongst other things, according to Jyllands-Posten:

Glistrup's resurrection

At the Progress Party's (Fremskridtspartiets) annual convention in 1997, 80% voted no to the re-admission of Mogens Glistrup to the party from which he was excluded in 1991, but to the shock of the party's parliamentary members, he was once again voted into the party he founded during the convention of 1999. 236 delegates voted for, while 131 delegates, together with the four parliamentary members, voted against.

He was not many minutes returned to the party before he wreaked havoc at the annual convention, when as a newly admitted member, he found himself ineligible as a candidate to the central committee and loudly accused the party leadership of being corrupt and rotten and threatened with a court case.

Glistrup demanded to be the party's campaign leader and made it clear that there was a need for a completely new party manifesto -- and concerning what had just been adopted: "It is only fit for the bin." (Jyllands-Posten, 27.9.) During the following days, Glistrup made the headlines with statements about selling Muslim girls to Paraguay and deporting all Muslims out of the country, and the Progress Party's four members of Parliament collectively resigned from the party in protest and founded the movement "Freedom 2000" (Frihed 2000).

According to Glistrup, his tactic was to intentionally cause havoc: "Hopefully I have trod on so many toes, that just like my other comments, it will be remembered for many years to come. The Progress Party's only chance is to wake those who have been lulled to sleep. We shouldn't try to enamour ourselves to the old politicians." (Jyllands-Posten, 30.9.) "The goal was to get in and cause havoc. That, in essence, is what the Progress Party thrives on." (Jyllands-Posten, 1.10.)

It was "a capital blunder to say yes to Glistrup again", wrote Jyllands-Posten in it's editorial the 1.10; "He's mad" was written on the first page of Ekstra Bladet the 13.10. None of the daily newspapers supported Glistrup's comments; nevertheless, the Progress Party's electoral support rose with the resurrection of Glistrup, from 1.5% to 3.4% in the space of a few days, according to a "Gallup Poll" in Politiken.

And on the background of a political message, the more supercilious of which, we undoubtedly would have to return to Nazi Germany to find:

"We just can't import Mohammedans and more Mohammedans, and it's only to annihilate and kill Danes that they come here." (Denmark's TV2-News, 27.9)

"They get three months to leave the country. And if they don't leave, then they will be rounded up and put in camps, like we had the refugees in at one time, and invite people to submit tenders, those who will pay the most, they get them. For example, Paraguay says: 'We would like 6,000 Mohammedan girls between the ages of 12 and 20, and we would like to pay five million for them,' yea, and these five millions, they end up in the Danish state coffers, don't they." (DR-P3's radio program "U-land", 28.9.)

"I suggest an extra 8,000 officers. Such a force would be necessary to round up the Mohammedans when the law is adopted, and in the meantime they can be used against the bikers, junkies and burglars." (Jyllands-Posten, 1.10.)

"Of course I'm a racist -- all good Danes are. Either you're a racist, or else you're a traitor." (Berlingske Tidende, 11.10.)

"Have you never heard, the way subjects like Barsebäck (Swedish nuclear power plant in the vicinity of Copenhagen) or pesticides in farm produce and so on, are discussed? Any and every doubt, should be to the detriment of the malign, and that is why it doesn't matter if we happen to deport 100,000 too many. We are already too many on the Danish soil, so if we happen to deport 3-4-500,000 too many, than that's OK. It would be worse if we deported too few." (Ekstra Bladet, 13.10.)

At a meeting in November, the Progress Party's representative committee, decided yet again to distance themselves sharply from Glistrup's comments, but nevertheless, decided to keep him on as a member and parliamentary candidate. So in that way the party plays it safe -- who knows, he might even attract (yet) more voters...

Effort to help most vulnerable social welfare recipients a failure

Occupational consultants and social advisers, are of the opinion that the most vulnerable 20% of social welfare recipients should be exempt from forced activation, as they are completely unable to meet up to their assignments, due to, amongst other things, mental problems, substance abuse or homelessness. In some of the activation projects in Copenhagen, only half the people meet up. The consequences for those who do not show are reduced welfare payments, so that there is only 600-800 crowns (85 -110 dollars) a month for food, clothes, cigarettes and the general necessities of life.

Ruth Soshøj, foreman for the occupational consultants says: "Forced activation has gone too far. The weakest 20 percent of welfare recipients ought to be exempt. A reduction in their welfare payments could quite simply destroy their lives." (Jyllands-Posten, 14.9.)

Foreman for the Danish Association of Social Workers (Dansk Socialrådgiverforening) Anne Worning, spoke to the same newspaper: "...the reality is that life for some people is so difficult, that they are unable to make any contribution to society. You cannot apply the activation concept to everybody."

Minister of social affairs Karen Jespersen is of the opinion that one can make do with taking individual consideration and reduce the level of activation, but that everybody should be forcibly activated. To Jyllands-Posten she said: "There are lots of social welfare recipients going around as living proof of how bad it can go if you just pass people off with a passive check every month (...) I think that one can rightfully criticise the two organisations for giving up too easily. They choose the easy solution of sending the vulnerable home to a lonely existence."

The absurd, soul destroying and disenfranchising concept of forced activation, is the Social Minister's solution to the problem of vulnerable social welfare recipients. However, a couple of weeks later, the minister of social affairs apparently changes her mind: "Activation has gone too far." (Information, 29.9.) "Protracted or prolonged activation is an admission of failure (...) These people belong on some sort of treatment or on disability allowance."

While the Social Minister was in the process of U-turning and delivering the system's "admission of failure", the cost of the forced activation project spiralled, and in 1999 reached a figure of 9.8 billion crowns (c.1.35 billion dollars) (excluding unemployment insurance payouts). In comparison, the figure for 1993 was 8.5 billion crowns (c.1.2 billion dollars), at a time when unemployment figures peaked and according to official records, were twice as high as today.

Berlingske Tidende writes the 18.9: "The Ministry of Labour concludes that the average expense incurred for every unemployed person who is activated, has more than doubled from 23,400 Dkr. ($3,250) in 1993 to 50,700 Dkr. ($7,000) in 1999. The reason for the violent rise in expenditure is first and foremost the government's deliberate attempt to activate the unemployed."

Despite the increased outlay, the effort made towards the most vulnerable recipients of social welfare benefits was a total failure. Despite the low level of unemployment and the many millions allocated to the forced activation scheme, calculations from Statistics Denmark show that the number of persons who in resent years have been on social welfare assistance, rehabilitation and forced activation for a period of 10-12 months, has remained constant over the last five years - at 115,000. They constitute today 45% of all welfare recipients against 38% in 1994.

Neither has the number of persons receiving benefits fallen in 3 out of the last 4 years, but remains constant at 50,000.

The social worker's deputy foreman, Pernille Djurhuus is of the opinion, that it has now become clear that people should have the right to say no to forced activation. "Frankly speaking, it is not possible to force help down people's throats, and activation should be on a voluntary basis. They must have the right to say no. Ideally, many of these people should be receiving disability benefit, but that is not going to happen due to the intense tightening of the rules. (Berlingske Tidende, 19.9.)

5,044 asylum-seekers jailed in Denmark in 1998

An increasing percentage of the people who come to Denmark seeking asylum, are being jailed by the police. From 1997 to 1998 the number of imprisoned asylum-seekers rose from 3,730 to 5,044, according to Politiken, 19.10. Consequently, more than one out of every two asylum-seekers is jailed when they arrive in this country.

A senior researcher at the Danish Center for Human Rights (Danske Center for Menneskerettigheder) Kim Kjær, is of the opinion, that it is quite possible to find other solutions regarding these people, who are asylum-seekers, not criminals -- as has been recommended by the UN.

Meanwhile, Chief Constable, Viggo Jensen from the Danish Police's (Rigspolitiet) Alien's Department, does not feel that too many are being imprisoned: "Asylum-seekers come to this country without any documentation for who they are, or where they've come from. They hope in every way to hinder our investigations, and quite a number of them disappear if we don't jail them," was his comment to the newspaper.

More than five thousand non-criminal asylum-seekers are deprived of their liberty every year in Denmark.

Berlingske Tidende's chief editor blocks a story on A.P. Møller's arms sales to the Germans during the occupation

According to Information the 9.10, one hundred employees from Berlingske Tidende showed up on Friday 8th Oct. to demonstrate their "deep mistrust" at the way the newspaper's chief editor Peter Wivel, handled the story about the shipping magnet A.P. Møller and the German occupation. Wivel is supposed to have behaved in an "arrogant and patronising" manner, in his dismissal of the research concerning A.P. Møller's role during the occupation.

The story revolves around research done by the journalists, on papers from the Danish intelligence officer Volmer Gyth (1902-65). Information writes on the issue the 12.10: "'Gyth's box' as the papers are known among historians, contains amongst other things, information on A.P. Møller's ownership of Danish Industrial Syndicate (Riffle Syndicate) (Dansk Industri Syndikat ('Riffelsyndikatet')) the Wehrmacht's most important supplier of arms up until the 22nd. June 1944,

when the plant in the Frihavnen was destroyed by BOPA (a Danish resistance group).

At the core of the employee's protest, was the way in which Berlingske Tidende's chief editor tried to hinder the work of the journalists. A proposal to down tools was defeated by a narrow margin of 44- 43. None of the employees present expressed any support for Peter Wivel.

The A.P. Møller concern is the principle shareholder of Berlingske Tidende and contributed strongly to saving the newspaper from financial ruin in 1982.

Meanwhile, chief editor Peter Wivel denied ever trying to halt the research work into the story: "I have always been prepared to let the research continue." (Information, 12.10.) It was just that he was of the opinion that the story could not be printed on the present foundation.

The final comment in the employee's letter of protest to the chief editor points to a rather different interpretation and clearly states: "We do not have faith in your journalistic leadership."

The critical articles concerning A.P. Møller's role during the occupation are to be published in November.

Erik Ninn-Hansen's former lawyer in the "Tamil case" appointed as interviewer in PET case.

The Minister for Justice Frank Jensen has appointed the lawyer Axel Kierkegaard as the interviewer in the up coming investigation of the Danish police intelligence service (PET) – and will thereby, amongst other things, be expected to interview his former client Erik Ninn-Hansen, whom he defended in the "Tamil case".

As Minister for Justice from 1982 until 1989, Erik Ninn-Hansen was jointly responsible for a decision to gather information on the activity of legitimate political organisations -- a decision that seems to be in contradiction to the guidelines laid down for PET.

Søren Søndergaard from the "Red-Green Alliance" criticizes the appointment of Axel Kierkegaard: "I am completely astounded over, that the Justice Minister could appoint someone to such an important position as interviewer, who had previously been defending counsel for one of central figures to be interviewed. It can only have a detrimental effect on the credibility of the investigation." (Politiken, 12.10.99)

However, the Minister for Justice refers to the fact that the investigation committee members unanimously recommended Axel Kierkegaard, and comments further to the same newspaper: "The Ministry for Justice has concluded, that a former, now terminated client-relationship, does not pose any problems. I can support this conclusion. I consider Axel Kierkegaard to be a professional defence lawyer. That is why it will not be any problem for him to interview Erik Ninn-Hansen."

Nevertheless, lawyer Bjørn Elmquist, former Member of Parliament for the Radical Liberal Party (Radikale Venstre) appeals on behalf of the cross-party PET-committee to the politicians, to undo the Justice Minister's decision: "I simply can't understand, that Frank Jensen can not see that there is a clear problem with regard to competence. Despite the fact that Erik Ninn-Hansen could possibly be questioned about his time as Justice Minister, it will also come to revolve around the consequences of Erik Ninn-Hansen's decisions and actions in that period." (Berlingske Tidende, 12.10.)

Bjørn Elmquist is of the opinion, that if the appointment of Axel Kierkegaard is maintained, then the PET-commission, will be "running around with a massive credibility problem" from the start.

DNA-register for both guilty and innocent

According to a bill put before the parliament by Justice Minister Frank Jensen, a new DNA register will, over the next five years, come to contain information on almost 15,000 Danes -- right from the totally innocent to those convicted of the hardest crimes. Also those charged with a crime will in this way be DNA-registered, regardless of whether they are subsequently acquitted or not, and for those who are subsequently acquitted it should be possible to maintain the registration for up to ten years.

Senior lecturer in criminal law, Jørn Vestergaard comments: "It is the height of double morality to establish a registry which includes those who have been charged with a crime and who have not been found guilty of anything. In some cases it is pure chance which determines whether somebody is charged by the police or not." (Berlingske Tidende, 24.10.)

Leader of the Danish Centre for Human Rights, Morten Kjærum emphasises to the same newspaper the problems regarding human rights: "It is problematic in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights that innocent persons are included in the registry. The registry itself is in breech of the right to personal privacy, and it is a question of whether is necessary for the police to have such a registry."

The Council of Lawyers have distanced themselves sharply from the bill, which to a large degree leaves it up to the police themselves to administer the registry. Foreman for the Council of Lawyers' criminal law committee, Steen Bech comments: "It is extremely alarming that the Minister continues to insist on this point. It is as if, that once the police have charged somebody, nobody really believes it when they are later shown to be innocent. It is ambiguous and furtive that the Minister introduces this type of half acquittal into Danish law."

Ekstra Bladet's new campaign against immigrants

On the 24th Oct. Ekstra Bladet launches its third campaign directed against immigrants within the space of the last few years: "The New Denmark".

In a full-page advertisement in bold print, it states: "In Denmark I was not born, but here I make my home." The advertisement proclaims, that there now are "413.873 people with foreign backgrounds" living in Denmark -- of course this includes everybody, whether they be American and Australian or African and Asian. Not withstanding, it is the Muslims who for the most part, are the exclusive focus of the campaign, as for example, the Muslim who wishes to " Islamise the whole world", while no Christian, with for instance, an American pedigree, clutters up the headlines. Apparently, it is neither unusual, nor sensational and suspect to find for example, an ex- American who wishes to "Americanise the whole world" or Christianise.

In the campaign's introduction article, Ekstra Bladet's chief editor, Sven Ove Gade writes, that for sure there can be "no doubt" that "gross discrimination of foreigners is an everyday occurrence" after which deep-felt expression for "objectively" to part the sun and the wind the following observation is upheld: "One of the major stumbling-blocks is religion, more precisely Islam which is a political religion, where the goal, at least as far as the Islamic fundamentalists are concerned, is the introduction of a religious state, and where Islamic Sharia law takes precedence over the civil, earthly law. Islamic law is God's law, and God can hardly be accommodated [under] the democratic decisions of the Danish democracy."

That "fundamentalists" are to be found in every religion -- and every political trend -- is apparently of little or no relevance, and Gade's characterization of "the Islamic fundamentalists" is led neatly and gracefully to an identification of these "fundamentalists" and that which he terms "a reality" which also is presented as a depiction of Denmark: "It is a reality which has to be considered -- Danes and Muslim immigrants -- for if we allow Islamic law to take precedence over Danish law, then it will not be long before Danish society is transformed."

The next step is for this "a reality" just as neatly and gracefully to become "the reality" and after that to become "this brutal reality": "Brutal maybe, but that's reality. And it is this reality which every Muslim must consider, if he or she wishes to become an equal member of the Danish society."

Brutal manipulation and propaganda, maybe, but that is the scope of Sven Ove Gade's reality.

Begging forbidden

Two new judgements from the Magistrate's Court make it clear that beggars who ask for money with the help of a sign, are in breech of the law every bit as much as beggars without a sign, and that they can be sent to prison for the offence.

The Royal Danish Police's statistics department informs Ekstra Bladet the 10.10, that in 1997 and '98 there were 70 and 64 cases respectively, of people charged under the penal code's mendicancy paragraph – that is to say, people charged with begging.

Although, it is doubtful; that anybody really believes begging will cease as a result of its criminalisation. The 47-year-old beggar Brian, spoke to Politiken the 30.10: "I beg for money to buy food, beer and a bed to sleep in at night. I have been refused welfare payments by the local authority, as I don't have a registered address."

That should no longer be a problem. If nothing else, he can beg his way to a roof over his head -- in a prison cell.

Social worker Lisbet Graff Larsen, from the 24 hour Social Emergency Centre in Copenhagen (Den Sociale Døgnvagt i København) feels, that she is forced by circumstances to suggest untraditional "solutions" to the homeless: "When all of the shelters and hostels are full, it forces us to be more creative then we like being. There are evenings when we are forced to recommend to the homeless that they take the night-bus from Town Hall Square in Copenhagen to Elsinore and back again, because that is the best we can come up with. Obviously, this is not an ideal solution, but at least while they are riding in the bus they have a roof over their heads and are not advertising the fact that they are homeless." (Berlingske Tidende, 17.11.)

"The Broken Mirror" – politically incorrect science or scientifically incorrect politics?

On the 3rd July, cultural sociologist and professor of marketing economy at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Dominique Bouchet, published the results of a report on immigrant children with integration difficulties in the Odense municipality. It was the municipality itself that commissioned the report. One of the conclusions reached is, that there is a problem among a small number of immigrant boys, where "the only right thing to do, is to deal with them by the use of constraint".

Bouchet has since remarked, amongst other things, that "the social system believes that you just have to be sweet and kind to them and everything will be alright, because even the worst of the immigrant-boys are, underneath it all, just innocent children. But they are thereby closing their eyes to how dangerous some of them actually are." (Jyllands-Posten, 18.7.)

In Weekendavisen the 13.8, foreman for the Socialpolitisk Forening, Rikke Posborg criticised the report for having problems with its methodology. In addition to other things, Bouchet never even talked with the, so-called hard core of immigrant boys, which he concludes should be dealt with by "the use of constraint"

In a feature article in Politiken the 23.9, Bouchet's report is characterised as "scientific rape" and "political swindle" by of law professor Flemming Balvig and editor of the "Social Kritik" Benny Lihme, who talk about "the report's methodological impotence". Balvig and Lihme write amongst other things: "The attention surrounding the report 'The Broken Mirror' has been inversely proportional to the report's scientific basis and value." And in addition: "If it had been written as a extended essay at one of the universities, the unlucky student would hardly have had the courage to show his face, after having been made to wear the 'dunce's cap' by the professor."

Speaking to Jyllands-Posten the same day, professor Balvig says: "It is incredibly un-objective, that Dominique Bouchet used the municipality's own employees to conduct the many interviews that form the basis of the report," whereby it can hardly be termed the impartial, scientific study, it is claimed to be.

Politiken writes in an editorial, that the report is "from a scientific point of view, a totally botched job", while the Aktuelt's chief editor, Kresten Schultz Jørgensen describes Bouchet as a "sociologist of the absolute highest calibre" and writes, that Balvig and Lihme "hide behind objectivity and murder in secret" (Aktuelt, 23.10.)

Co-producer of the report, Paul Smith writes in a feature article in Ekstra Bladet the 25.10, that Balvig and Lihme make use of "grossly distorted accounts of the book, banal deceptions as well as a completely unheard-of defamation of the author", but the essence of the criticism, that the report unjustifiably portrays itself as a scientific study, is not even mentioned let alone rejected by Paul Smith -- instead he replies, by himself defaming Balvig and Lihme as "social Stalinists"

Neither does Bouchet have anything to say about the criticism that his report (lacks) a scientific and methodological foundation, when he defends himself in Jyllands-Posten the 31.10, and admits to, though makes little of the report's failings with regard to methodology: "But that's the way it is with all social science. Had I chosen another method then there would have been other short-comings."

Thus, both Dominique Bouchet and Paul Smith avoid answering the criticism, which by the use of normal standards accuses the book of being useless, due to the lack of impartiality in its methodology. Professor Balvig spells it out in the same newspaper: "The main complaint is, that he did not interview the hard-core, which according to the report, are so far beyond the reach of child-minders and teachers, that we might just as well lock them away. In our opinion, there is absolutely no basis for this conclusion in the material. The next problem being, that he used the municipality's own employees to undertake the qualitative interviews, which is highly criticisable, because they themselves are a part of the system which the report was to investigate. These are very serious problems with regard to methodology, and it shocks one to think, that a person with the title of professor could be responsible for something so amateurish. If he had just collected his impressions and written a book for debate instead, then it would have been alright, but it is fraudulent to present it as science."

Immigrant children forcefully removed on wrongful basis.

A new investigation concludes, that the authorities forcefully remove immigrant children and place them into care too quickly, family problems are over dramatised as a result of the case-handlers "static cultural understanding"

Social worker Tove Holmgård Sørensen from the Center for Research into Social Work (Center for Forskning i Socialt Arbejde) has for one year, followed the work of the 24-hour Contact Center in Copenhagen (Døgnkontakten) a crisis center for young, and sees a marked difference between the Danish children who are forcefully placed into care outside the home and children of foreign descent who undergo the same process.

Holmgård Sørensen comments: "While nearly all of the Danish children belong in the most troubled category, there are many of the ethnic children, who are functional in a family atmosphere, do well in school and have interests which they cultivate in their spare time." (Politiken, 8.11.)

The same newspaper writes: "According to Tove Holmgård Sørensen the Danish case-handlers

lack insight into foreign cultures. The case-handlers do not give themselves time to understand the family's situation. If the parents speak bad Danish the mistaken logic is often, that they are without resources and are sidestepped in the search for a solution to the conflict."

Denmark has the West's highest number of unemployed immigrants compared to unemployed natives

For every 100 unemployed native Danes there are 350 unemployed foreigners in Denmark, according to a new OECD-investigation -- thereby giving Denmark the dubious honour of being bottom of the table when it comes to accepting foreigners into the workplace, among western countries. In comparison, there are an equal number of unemployed natives as there are unemployed foreigners in Canada, approximately 120 unemployed foreigners for every 100 unemployed natives in the USA, and "only" upwards of 200 unemployed foreigners to every 100 unemployed natives in Austria.

Director of the Union for integration of New-Danes into the labour market, Torben Møller-Hansen is of the opinion, that Denmark's closing of its borders to immigration in 1973 was a mistake: "Viewed in retrospect, the decision to put a stop to immigration in 1973 was a strategic blunder, which only opened the doors to refugees and people arriving to be united with their families. The result is, that the majority of immigrants coming to Denmark are unskilled. And what's even worse is: They have been left to their own devices for years." (Jyllands-Posten, 14.11.)

For the first time in Danish legal history a "foreigner" born and raised in Denmark is deported

The 2nd of November was the first time in Danish legal history that a person who was born and raised in Denmark had been sentenced to deportation. In the Eastern High Court in Copenhagen, 23-year-old Ercan Cicek was sentenced to three years in prison for robbery and aggravated violence – plus deportation to Turkey after serving his sentence. Cicek has a wife and daughter in Denmark, who it seems, will be forced to follow him out of the country when he has served his sentence.

Thereby tightening the administration of justice with regard to the double-sentencing of foreigners without Danish citizenship, where not even a life-long residency in the country is seen as a hindrance to eternal banishment.

The Magistrate's Court rejected the deportation, but six judges in the High Court deported Cicek "for eternity" and without the possibility of re-entry into Denmark."

Leader of the Danish Center for Human Rights (Danske Center for Menneskerettigheder), Morten Kjærum comments on the sentence: "In my judgement, the deportation is in breach of article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. That's the article that addresses the right to be together with ones immediate family, and that does not only mean one's spouse or partner." (Politiken, 3.11.)

Cicek has, for the most part, all of his family in Denmark, which for the rest of "eternity" he is refused permission to visit.

A sentence on top of a sentence on top of a sentence. Equality before the law?

Proposal from the Conservatives: "Biker law" should be used against immigrants

During the Conservative People's Party's (Konservative Folkepartis) annual conference, the party's parliamentary members put forward a proposal under the title "Consistency, firmness and law and order" that will "give the police extended powers to forbid gang members from congregating in certain public places".

The Conservative's spokesperson on law and order, Helge Adam Møller comments: "You have to know your dog by its bark. That some gang members have no criminal record is often due to the fact that nothing has been found to hang them up on. The police should have the possibility to judge whether there is a well-founded concern that they ["the immigrant gangs"] are going to do something criminal and forbid them from loitering at certain places for six or for twelve months." (Information, 3.11.99)

The Conservative People's Party want to use the "biker law" to criminalize immigrants on suspicion. Today it is possible to prohibit a person from loitering or delaying at a locality where he or she has committed a criminal offence, or was in breach of the by-laws, but the Conservatives want to extend this, so that the police can, on their own discretion, forbid persons from frequenting extended areas such as train stations or public squares, without the person having broken any laws.

Misleading police report on street gangs

In September, the National Commissioner of Police published the report Street-gangs in Denmark 1999 (Gadebander i Danmark 1999), which is based on accounts from the country's 54 police districts, which separately had to describe "the actual and precise scope of street gang crime, including especially, crimes of violence..." (Quoted in Information, 2.11.) The time allocated for this purpose was 14 days.

A "street-gang" is defined in the following way: "A group of children and/or youths, who are criminally active on street level and/or conduct themselves in an aggressive manner or a manner likely to cause disruption, and are perceived as a group by themselves and others."

The National Commissioner of Police's report concludes, that street gang crime in 1999 is at approximately the same level as in 1997/98, that 25 police districts have, to varying degrees, problems with street-gangs, that 7 police districts have previously had problems, while the remaining 22, neither have nor have had problems, and that the actual number of street-gangs in Denmark is at 33 with 485 core members and a further 337 peripheral members and supporters, and with an over-representation of young men of non-Danish ethnic background.

Psychologist and external lecturer in criminology, Ida Kock, strongly criticized the report for amongst other things, its imprecise definition of street-gangs and its ditto criminality criterion – it is not made clear in the report, to what degree it is a question of convicted criminality or simply a suspicion of criminality in relation to "gang members", just like it is unclear what degree of involvement the "street-gang" as a whole has had in these activities.

When is a person for example, a "troublemaker" asks Ida Kock: "Do young people, who as a rule, go on the town together as groups of classmates or club-mates etc. and are often lightly intoxicated and boisterous, constitute a "street gang"? They can be incredibly irritating and some people might even feel slightly threatened by them, but their behaviour in itself is not criminal and ought not to qualify them as a gang. In any case it is hardly this, which comes into most people's minds, when they hear the police and others discuss the street-gang situation in Denmark. In this respect we usually think of violence plagued, highly organised armed groups, who are involved in very serious crime (...) Nevertheless, with this quagmire as a foundation, one has endeavoured to count the number of gangs, group members with various degrees of adherence to the gangs and the number of gang-plagued police districts. And only the devil himself knows, what it is that has been counted and evaluated. (Information, 2.11.)

Furthermore, Ida Kock draws attention to the fact, that the National Commissioner of Police manipulated the figures. Amongst those police districts that are registered as having "less serious problems with street-gangs" are for example, Hobro, Holbæk, Hvidovre, Skive, Esbjerg and Frederikssund, even though they have all reported that they, do not have any problems with street gangs at the present time. That is to say, problems that no longer exist are included in the report of existing street-gang problems. In addition, she cites: "They report groups of youths who they imagine at one time or another might fall in under the category of street gangs etc."

Ida Koch concludes: "It is worrying that an investigation is conducted in so short a time span, especially when one takes into consideration the hysterical and, to a degree, myth-laden debate on street gangs, 'Chicago-type conditions' crime perpetrated by 'ethnic' children and youths and so on. In the prevailing atmosphere of moral panic and ethno-phobia, there is a need for thoroughness and objectivity."

The constitution's protection of the dwelling's inviolability undermined by 146 "particular exceptions"

In the constitution's § 72 it states: "The dwelling shall be inviolable. House search, seizure, and examination of letters and other papers, or any breach of the secrecy that shall be observed in postal, telegraph, and telephone matters, shall not take place except under a judicial order, unless particular exception is warranted by statute."

However, the question is, if the dwelling's inviolability is not now completely useless as a legal guarantee, considering that no fewer than 146 "particular exceptions" -- laws and proclamations -- give officialdom free access to private homes today. In 1999 alone, the Parliament adopted eight new laws and there was issued 28 new proclamations, which facilitate access to private homes without a warrant.

Ekstra Bladet writes the 22.11.99, that the authorities can now "forcefully enter private homes to control conservation, beehives, pets, water supply, electricity supply, organic production, the storing of fireworks, VAT-accounts, insulation, the storing of old car tyres, aquariums, weapons and ammunition, radio installations, dead game, natural gas, waste water and so on." All of this without a warrant.

But the 146 "particular exceptions" are apparently not sufficient. The Ministry for Labour, is at present considering a proposal to allow the National Labour Market Authority, with the help of the police, but without a warrant, unrestricted access to private homes where people work on a home computer.

By Rune Engelbreth Larsen
Translated by Anthony Kiely