Thursday, January 25, 2007

Danish Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen Attacks Public Service TV. UPDATED!

The issue of Danish soldiers handing over "enemy combatants" to the American army, which abused them, has led to heated discussions in the Danish parliament. Until a couple of days ago the government was challenged in parliament by the opposition on information that the Danish army had on 5-6 occasions handed over soldiers.

But the other day the American prison guard reduced the claim put forth in the Guldbrandsen film shown on TV to three cases of handing over prisoners. In the film he uses the word "might" about the number of times prisoners were handed over. And this makes the prime minister state that Danish public service TV has brought "distorted information". The word "might" was not translated correctly into Danish. In Denmark it is very unusual that a prime minister comments on a single broadcast shown on public service TV.

The opposition has demanded an official investigation of the Danish Afghanistan troops' dealing with prisoners. Now Anders Fogh Rasmussen claims that Danish TV ought to start an "investigation of itself". An investigation of how the government has withheld information from parliament is not called for, according to the government, even though the opposition wants one.

"It is all a question of the credibility of Danish TV", the prime minister says.

He is being criticised by professors in media science for these statements. They have stated that Denmark treats the media in a way that is "similar to dictatorships and fundamentalist islamist states".

This is deeply ironical. Anders Fogh Rasmussen was an outspoken advocate of freedom of expression during the Mohammed cartoons crisis a year ago. Now he is himself criticised for limiting freedom of expression through these attacks on TV journalists who haven't done anything wrong, other than showing a film and making a wrong translation of the word "might" into Danish. It'll lead to self-censorship among journalists in future, it is feared. There is no doubt about the fact that prisoners of war ("enemy combatants") have been handed over for later torture. It's just a question of how many times it has happened.

During the cartoons crises the PM would not comment on what the Jyllandsposten printed. Freedom of speech was sacred. He could not interfere, and he would not interfere in the free press, he said. Now, it's different. When he himself is the target of the "free press", the whole matter is entirely different. It seems as if he is more or less trying to turn Denmark into a banana republic.


According to the Politiken tonight, prison guard Edward Hermans was quoted correctly in the film "The Secret War". DR, the public service station interviewed him tonight, and Herman confirms all the things he is quoted as saying in the film", a Media manager of DR tells the Politiken. He has "no objections" to what he was quoted for by DR. This is big come-down for the Danish government and its meddling with the free press.

A central focus in the debate is a speak, in which he is indirectly attributed to having confirmed that Danish soldiers routinely delivered prisoners to the Americans (The Secret War can be seen on , the speak will appear 00:43:20). In a just published interview on the DR homepage with Edward Herman director Christoffer Guldbrandsen reads exactly this speak aloud to the American to ask him to corroborate it. "According to our American sources the Danes have routinely brought prisoners in and handed them over to the Americans. Do you object to me saying this in my speak?" Christoffer Guldbrandsen asks. "No, as you use several quotes, I have absolutely no objections to that speak", Ed Herman replies.

After this, we can safely conclude that "there's nothing to come for", to quote one of the prime minister's own words of wisdom. The prime minister's attack on the free press has no justification whatsoever.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One should think that you would be better at lying since you do it so often. There are many areas of the so called documentary which are critiqued and not only the case of the quotation fraud.

Furthermore it is not only the word "might" but also two maybes which have been deliberately withheld from de "documentary". The stair informant had three reservations and they were all edited out!

"The issue of Danish soldiers handing over "enemy combatants" to the American army, which abused them"

Since you are so convinced of this could you please provide me with a link to a source which confirms the claim?

3:25 AM  
Anonymous Cosmic Duck said...

"Might" may also go in the other direction, meaning more than 5-6 times.

Anyway it's reprehensible that a prime minister criticises the free press. A free press is a pre-condition for at good democracy.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn’t answer:
"The issue of Danish soldiers handing over "enemy combatants" to the American army, which abused them"

Since you are so convinced of this could you please provide me with a link to a source which confirms the claim?

Aren’t a minister allowed to critique the media? Freedom of speech also applies to politicians. You have no problems with attacking Jyllandsposten, are you then destroying a vital pre-condition for at good democracy?

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Cosmic Duck said...

It's an important part of the independence of the media that the government should not interfere in the daily practicing of journalism.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for the third time you cant provide a link to support your torture claims. Coinsidence?

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Cosmic Duck said...

Try David Trads' blog. He has a discussion with Guldbrandsen about it. There you can see the claims validated by Guldbrandsen.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A central witness in Guldbrandsen's "documentary", Chris Hogan, says:"»Ikke én eneste gang har jeg set, hørt om, for slet ikke at sige deltaget i noget, der minder om overgreb eller tortur – noget, der på nogen måde overtræder Geneve-konventionen,« forsikrer han over for Nyhedsavisen i telefonen fra Connecticut.

Og ethvert tilløb til at gå for langt blev øjeblikkeligt stoppet, føjer han til."

He hasnt heard of any instances of torture! Of course the fundamentalist Guldbrandsen feelt like cutting this out.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Cosmic Duck said...

It's hardly proof that torture has not taken place."Guantánamo is not the only US torture camp. Bagram in Afghanistan has been dogged by stories of abuse", The Guardian writes on January 12th.

It's not strange that an interrogation officer won't admit now that it has not taken place.

And Denmark has delivered prisoners to such camps. The word "might" was not translated, but that is no proof against. It is admitted that handing over has occurred at least 2-3 times, maybe more.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Cosmic Duck said...

Human Rights Watch writes: "As early as December 2002, the Washington Post had reported that persons being held in the CIA interrogation center at Bagram airbase who refuse to cooperate “are sometimes kept standing or kneeling for hours in black hoods or spray-painted goggles, according to intelligence specialists familiar with CIA interrogation methods. At times they are held in awkward, painful positions and deprived of sleep with a 24-hour bombardment of lights—subject to what are known as ‘stress and duress’ techniques."

12:41 PM  

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