Repression in Denmark
I recieved the following two documents from a Danish friend and fellow worker about a month ago. She has been involved in a Danish group that supports revolutionary groups around the world. These include the PFLP, a Palestinian group with a secular, socialist, and revolutionary agenda. The PFLP was in the news recently when it helped broker a cease-fire between Hamas and Fatah, the two main Islamist Palestinian parties. On the other hand, they also support the FARC of Columbia, a "revolutionary" group for whom I have no respect whatsoever.
The following two documents show increasing repression of international solidarity with teeth, global support for those whose governments have turned against them. It should worry anyone who's ever sent money to the Zapatistas, for instance.
The first document is a declaration officially promulgated near the end of last year, while the second details the history of the Danish group "Rebellion," (Opror) which has been the main victim of this government crackdown on solidarity campaigns. While no specific action has been suggested, it is important to know the shape and tactics of the struggle for justice, wherever it is taking place. My friend who sent this to me seemed very concerend abou the escalating nature of the crackdown on their activities.
She wrote in part:
"In denmark we are fighting for the right to rebel against any occupation or repressive power. And for the right to support freedom-fighters financially and politically. Right now our spokesman is accused of violating the Danish anti-terror legislation."
Please give some thought to the future these important documents, and check out the Opror website to see what you can do to help (it may be in Danish, though).
Declaration of the Copenhagen international conference 'Anti-terrorism legislation, political rights and international solidarity', convened by Opror ('Rebellion', Denmark), November 18 - 19, 2006:
The US-led 'war on terror' threatens us all. Defend freedom of expression, human rights and international solidarity!
We appeal to all movements for democracy and international solidarity to join us in challenging national and supranational anti-terrorist legislation, the international 'terrorist lists', and the so-called 'global war on terror'.
Through present anti-terrorist legislation, states have attempted to curb the freedom of expression and the political rights of their citizens, including the right to extend moral and material support to resistance and liberation movements throughout the world.
Such support is now at risk of prosecution within the terms of anti-terrorism legislation. The role of international solidarity, which in the past has made an important contribution to conflict resolution, is under severe threat.
Moreover, civil disobedience, protest campaigns and labour action are increasingly in danger of falling within the scope of such legislation.
This erosion of political and human rights is driven by a neo-liberal state strategy where the liberalization of economies and markets is accompanied by repressive state regulation of political activity and expression. Within this perspective, the 'war on terror' is a global project seeking to contain and crush popular resistance to the expropriation of essential resources by increasingly deregulated market forces.
Resistance is now redefined as an expression of 'international terrorism'. Several states have grasped the opportunity to define resistance movements in terms of the so-called 'global war on terror', thereby seeking to confer upon themselves a guise of international legitimacy. The threat of state terrorism is today the most immediate and lethal threat against the peoples of many nations.
Together we will challenge the political paradigm underlying the so-called 'global war on terror' and the proscription of organisations through so-called 'terrorist lists'. Such 'terrorist lists' can only contribute to the marginalisation of social and political movements, excluding them from an international political dialogue, which in itself is a necessary step towards a negotiated political resolution of the conflicts of which they are a part.
Now and in the future we will defend
- the right of peoples to resist illegitimate government and foreign occupation,
- the right of peoples to take up arms against oppression, where all other means have been exhausted,
- the right to create new forms of people's power which serve the economic, social, political and cultural aspirations of the people,
- and the right of citizens of all nations to extend their support, material and otherwise, to these struggles for economic, political, social and cultural emancipation.
Rebellion in Denmark - an overview
Since its founding in early 2004, the Danish association Opror ('Rebellion') has sought to defy both national anti-terrorism legislation and the political paradigm underlying the so-called 'war on terror'.
In October 2004, 'Rebellion' publicly transferred relatively substantial funds to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). An important criterion for this choice of organisations is that they seek to further secular, democratic goals.
Both organisations are listed on the so-called 'terrorist list' of the European Union, compiled without any form of public, democratic scrutiny. Resistance by some EU members to the inclusion of FARC on the list was ineffectual, due to USA's strategic interests in the area.
The proscription of organisations through 'terrorist lists' can only contribute to the marginalisation of social and political movements, excluding them from an international political and moral dialogue, which in itself is a necessary step towards a negotiated political resolution of those conflicts of which they are a part.
The Colombian ambassador and vice-president Santos Calderón met with officials from the Ministry of Justice and the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen, urging them to prosecute 'Rebellion'. The Colombian Ministry of Justice forwarded a list of thirty questions to Danish police authorities, to be drawn upon in an interrogation of members of 'Rebellion'.
April 2005: International appeal
'Rebellion' issues an international appeal to several hundred movements and organisations within the EU, encouraging them to join it in its defiance of European anti-terrorist legislation and the 'terrorist list' of the European Union. The text of this appeal follows below.
Appeal from 'Rebellion' (Denmark) to European movements:
"The 'war on terror' threatens us all - defend freedom of expression, human rights and international solidarity!
The Danish association 'Rebellion' appeals to all European movements for democracy and international solidarity to join it in challenging national anti-terrorist legislations, the 'terrorist list' of the European Union, and the so-called 'international war on terror'.
Through present anti-terrorist legislation, European states have attempted to curb the freedom of expression and the political rights of their citizens, including their right to extend moral and material support to resistance and liberation movements.
In the past year 'Rebellion' has publicly, and in direct conflict with Danish anti-terrorism legislation, transferred substantial funds to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). An important criterion for our choice of organizations is that they seek to further secular, democratic, and humanist goals.
The Danish Ministry of Justice and police authorities have as yet not raised criminal charges against 'Rebellion'. In order to further such a step, both the Colombian ambassador to the Nordic countries and vice-president Santos have had talks with officials from the Ministry of Justice and the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen.
We appeal to other European organizations to join us in a continuing challenge to European anti-terrorist legislation and the 'terrorist list' of the European Union.
We envisage the following elements in the campaign:
- Collection of funds within each country with list of those willing to stand forward as signatories. It would be inadvisable to open accounts, as these may be subject to seizure.
- A goal of at least 100 signatories and at least 1000 Euro within each participating country should be set. Involving prominent citizens in the initiative would be of great advantage.
- Publication of the initiative within each country when these goals are met, or at whatever time seems appropriate within the national context.
- Conference of all participating organizations to be held in Copenhagen in 2006, where a collective transfer of funds to resistance and liberation movements is announced.
- Publication of a conference manifesto on the so-called 'war on terror', reiterating solidarity with the international struggle against illegitimate state power and foreign occupation.
We hope that this appeal will be welcomed by your organization, and that the initiative will be taken up and developed in as daring a manner as possible within each national context."
August 2005: International appeal confiscated and criminal charges raised against 'Rebellion'
The Danish association 'Rebellion' has on two counts been charged with breach of 114 a (2) of the Danish criminal code by allegedly supporting "groups having the intent of committing terrorist acts".
'Rebellion' is charged with transferring approximately 14000 Euro to the resistance movements FARC (Colombia) and PFLP (Palestine) in October 2004. The second charge concerns a statement on Danish television on 1 August 2005 by a spokesperson for 'Rebellion', Patrick Mac Manus, announcing that the association was in the process of collecting further funds in support of organisations on the EU 'terrorist list', and that it had issued an international appeal to democratic and solidarity organisations in the European Union urging them to similarly challenge national anti-terrorist legislation and the EU 'terrorist list'. Both charges have been raised personally against the spokesperson, Patrick Mac Manus, and not against the association as such. This 'Rebellion' will seek to redress, and has already collected a large number of signatures of persons demanding to be charged for their material support of organisations on the EU 'terrorist list'.
The maximum sentence which can be imposed in connection with the charges is ten years imprisonment. The indictment has as yet not been drafted by the prosecution.
'Rebellion's' international appeal, sent in both English and Spanish to almost 300 European democracy and solidarity movements, was removed from the association's homepage by order of the Copenhagen Magistrate's Court on 12 August 2005. This injunction was upheld 14 October 2005 by the High Court (Landsret). This is now being appealed by 'Rebellion' to the Supreme Court (Hoejesteret) as such confiscation involves both paragraph 77 of the Danish Constitution "prohibiting the re-introduction of censorship at any time", and the European Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10, on freedom of expression.
Immediately following the confiscation of the appeal, 'Rebellion' encouraged other Danish organisations to publish it on their homepages, and to contact their own international networks. The appeal is now to be found on over 50 national and international websites. The Danish police authorities have approached a number of the Danish organisations, including the parliamentary party, Red-Green Alliance, requesting them to remove the appeal from their websites, or face court action. All organisations have refused to do so.
February 2006: Police authorities remove the international appeal from the websites of the parliamentary party Red-Green Alliance, of the left daily newspaper 'Arbejderen', and of a socialist youth group.
April 2006: Supreme Court
The Board of Appeal grants spokesperson of the Danish association 'Oproer' (Rebellion), Patrick Mac Manus, permission to appeal the confiscation of the association's international appeal to the Supreme Court.
'Rebellion's' international appeal was removed from the association's homepage by order of the Copenhagen Magistrate's Court on 12 August 2005. This injunction was upheld 14 October 2005 by the High Court.
The Danish Board of Appeal grants permission to appeal to the Supreme Court only in cases involving fundamental legal or constitutional principles. The association 'Rebellion' has argued that the confiscation of its international appeal is in conflict with both paragraph 77 of the Danish Constitution "prohibiting the re-introduction of censorship at any time", and the European Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10, on freedom of expression. Moreover, the lower courts had in their injunctions merely made reference to the 'terrorist list' of the European Union, without in any way assessing the legal validity of such a list in the Danish legal system.
October 2006: Terrorist charges against 'Rebellion'
On October 18, 2006, the Danish State Prosecutor issues an indictment (SA1 -2006-6200-0004) by which spokesperson of the Danish association Opror ('Rebellion'), Patrick Mac Manus, is charged on two counts of breach of the criminal code §114 b 1-2 by:
- "as spokesperson of 'Opror' of being accessory to collecting and giving economic support to organisations having the intent of committing acts of terrorism" in that on 17 October, 2004, the association 'Opror' transferred a sum of 50.000 DKr (8.500 Euro) to each of the organisations PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia).
- as spokesperson of 'Opror' of issuing an appeal in May 2005 to other European organisations with the aim of - at a conference possibly to be convened in Copenhagen in November 2005 - of publicly announcing collective economic support to "organisations with the intent committing acts of terrorism", among others PFLP and FARC.
The prosecution pleads imprisonment of spokesperson, Patrick Mac Manus.
The date of the trial has been set to 19-20 April, 2007 at Copenhagen Magistrate Court, Court 4, Slutterigade 1, 1461 Copenhagen K. Due to the number of witnesses being called by the defence, the trial may be extended.
The association 'Opror' would be extremely grateful for the participation of legal observers at the trial. Central to the trial is the curtailment of political rights by anti-terrorism legislation, and the right of resistance by peoples and organisations confronting illegitimate state power and foreign occupation. Such a right has been largely suppressed by the so-called 'global war on terror'.
Sources: Statewatch 2005-2006, see www.statewatch.org and 'Rebellion' website www.opror.net for contact details.
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