This article appears in the September 9, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Danish Foreign Minister Questioned in
Parliament About Ukraine’s Blacklist
[Print version of this article]
COPENHAGEN, Aug. 31—On August 19, 2022, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod (Social Democrat) was required to appear in an open consultation before the Danish parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee for one hour about Ukraine’s Center for Countering Disinformation (CCD) blacklist, comprising more than 70 prominent individuals accused of “promoting the Russian narrative,” among them three from Denmark. The common denominator for those three was that they had all addressed the Schiller Institute’s Danish-Swedish online conference on May 25.
A courageous Member of Parliament, Marie Krarup (independent), had invoked a parliamentary procedure which required the Foreign Minister to answer the questions she had submitted beforehand, and to reply to follow-up questions.
This is the first time the Ukraine blacklist has been discussed in a national legislature, and the first time a foreign minister has been summoned to respond, as far as we know.
The two questions that MP Marie Krarup had submitted beforehand, which formed the basis of the consultation, were these:
1. Will the Minister comment on the Ukrainian list of foreigners who “promote the Russian narrative,” including that the minister is asked whether, in the government’s view, the list is an expression of respect for freedom of expression, democracy and other values which the minister believes Denmark should promote in the world?
2. Does the Minister believe that Denmark can continue to justify its support for Ukraine with arms and money, by saying that Denmark is thus helping to support democratic values outside Denmark?
The open consultation was streamed live on the parliament’s website, and has been broadcast on the parliament’s TV station. It may be viewed, in Danish, here.
Major Danish Press Coverage
Leading up to the consultation, there had been significant coverage in the major Danish media regarding the three people in Denmark who were targeted by the CCD blacklist and their participation in the Schiller Institute conference. The conference was titled, “We Need a New Security & Development Architecture, Not a Strengthening of Geopolitical Blocs; No to the Danish Referendum [on abolishing the EU military activity opt-out]; No to Sweden and Finland Joining NATO.” The video of the conference may be seen here.
The profiles of the three speakers from Denmark and the titles of their speeches are as follows:
Jens Jørgen Nielsen, degrees in the history of ideas and communication, a Moscow correspondent for the major Danish daily Politiken in the late 1990s, author of several books about Russia and Ukraine, a leader of the Russian-Danish Dialogue organization, and an associate professor of communication and cultural differences at the Niels Brock Business College in Denmark, He spoke on the “Background to the Ukraine-NATO-Russia War.”
Jan Øberg, peace and future researcher and art photographer, PhD in sociology, visiting professor in peace and conflict studies in Japan, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland, co-founder and director of the independent Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF), in Lund, Sweden, and author. His address was titled, “Why we need a new security architecture, Why Denmark should vote No to abolishing the EU military opt-out, and Why Sweden and Finland should not join NATO.”
Prof. Li Xing, PhD, professor of Development and International Relations in the Department of Politics and Society and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Director of the Research Centre on Development and International Relations, Aalborg University, and author. His subject was, “Chinese proposals for a new security and development architecture: Xi Jinping’s April proposal for a new international security architecture; the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative.”
In addition to the speakers from Denmark, two additional speakers at the conference were also put on the CCD hit list: Helga Zepp-LaRouche (Germany), the Schiller Institute’s founder, and Ulf Sandmark (Sweden), Chairman, the Schiller Institute in Sweden.
The press coverage included interviews and articles with Li Xing and Jens Jørgen Nielsen: on Denmark Radio’s homepage; the major daily newspapers Berlingske Tidende and Jyllands-Posten; the newspapers Nordjyske and the Copenhagen Post; and Radio 24/7.
In addition to its article, Jyllands-Posten had an editorial against Ukraine’s list, which was also covered on the homepage of the EU Commission’s representation in Denmark. Most of the press coverage included the fact that the three had spoken at the Schiller Institute conference.
Prior to the consultation, the Schiller Institute in Denmark sent Foreign Minister Kofod and the members of the Foreign Policy Committee documentation on the CCD list, including its inclusion of 30 people who had spoken at Schiller Institute conferences. The documentation included threatening statements by CCD’s acting director Andrei Shapovalov, who labelled those on the list “information terrorists” who should be brought before a “military court” as “war criminals,” and by Mikhailo Podolyak, the adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, who said those on the list should undergo “military lustration” and be sanctioned in their own countries.
This Schiller Institute documentation, which formed the basis for the questions posed by the members of parliament, was acknowledged by the Foreign Minister during the consultation. That documentation on the Parliament’s homepage in Danish is available here.
The Consultation with the Foreign Minister
MP Marie Krarup relentlessly questioned Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod about what he had done, and would do, in the face of the Ukrainian CCD’s attempt to stifle the three researchers’ freedom of speech, and the threat to their safety by CCD acting director Shapovalov and Zelensky advisor Podolyak. She asked if the Foreign Minister would condemn the list.
The greatest significance of the consultation was not the Minister’s answers, but the persistence with which Marie Krarup, and later, Member of Parliament Christian Juhl (Unity Party), the functioning chairman of the committee during the consultation, pounded the minister with sharp questions.
It would have been the perfect opportunity for the Foreign Minister to denounce Ukraine’s blacklist, but he refused to do so. He would only say that it was important for Denmark to help Ukraine counter disinformation, but that “the fight against disinformation should contribute to strengthening, not undermining, democracy, research and freedom of expression.”
Foreign Minister Kofod did acknowledge that he had directed the Danish embassy in Ukraine to ask the Ukrainian authorities about the list. He noted that it had not yet answered, but that he would be willing to come back to the Committee with its answer. Strangely, he denied that the July 14 roundtable statements by acting CCD director Andrei Shapovalov about “information terrorists” and “war criminals” had anything to do with the people on the blacklist. MP Marie Krarup insisted that it did. Shapovalov in fact made those statements on the same day the list was released.
Foreign Minister Kofod acknowledged that the meeting where these threats were issued was held with support from the U.S. Department of State, and organized by the U.S. National Security Service Academy, Civilian Research and Development Foundation, the International Academy of Information, and the coordination platform the National Security Cluster. He added that he had not received any request from the Ukrainian authorities to sanction anyone.
Foreign Minister Kofod went to great lengths to avoid criticizing Ukraine, stressing that Ukraine is in an existential fight, that Denmark must do everything to ensure that Ukraine wins the war, and therefore, Danish military aid to Ukraine must continue unabated.
When MP Krarup repeatedly asked him if he agreed that it was a scandal that law-abiding Danish experts were targeted and put on a list to intimidate them, to stop using their freedom of speech, the Foreign Minister simply said that he, of course, was for freedom of speech and that everyone knows the Danish position.
Chastising the Foreign Minister for doing nothing more than asking the Danish embassy in Ukraine to do its job—to inquire about the blacklist—MP Krarup said,
I think that is a very poor response to the quite unbelievably gross situation: that three Danish researchers are being prevented from carrying out perfectly legal research activities because they now have to live with threats hanging over their heads.
In response to a question about what the Foreign Ministry had done to secure the safety of the people from Denmark on the list, the Foreign Minister said that was a matter for the police.
MP Christian Juhl (Unity Party, a leftwing party), who was the chairman of the meeting and, unfortunately, the only other parliamentarian present at the consultation, asserted that he had worked hard to help Ukraine since Feb. 24, but even if we support Ukraine, it still has to abide by certain rules. He asked the Foreign Minister if it would be legal to give up freedom of expression in such an extreme situation as Ukraine is in, including adopting anti-union laws, which is now a matter of great concern; if not just Russia, but also Ukraine should be held accountable for war crimes; and if the Foreign Ministry had investigated if there were any validity in the Ukrainian claim that the three from Denmark on the Ukrainian list were spreading disinformation? The Foreign Minister said that Denmark, of course, was against war crimes, but emphasized, especially, that Russia had to be held accountable.
MP Krarup followed up by saying,
We should therefore say to Ukraine that you have to stop that. You have to take our people off the list. We will not sanction our researchers. We do not think that it is Russian disinformation or an illegal statement to say that “Western sanctions against Russia are not working,” as a professor of international politics from Aalborg University has said.
MP Krarup also confronted the Foreign Minister with his attempt to belittle the matter by saying that the Danish government had not received a list from the Ukrainian government. She offered him a copy of the list and said that she knew that the documentation that had been made available to herself and other members of Parliament had also been sent to the Foreign Ministry. The Minister acknowledged that the Foreign Ministry had received the detailed documentation from the Schiller Institute.
A Schiller Institute delegation of three people was present at the consultation and publicized it afterwards, including by sending the video and transcript to all parliamentarians and many City Council members. [Box: Major Danish Daily: CCD is ‘Orwellian’]
While Foreign Minister Kofod refused to condemn the blacklist as he should have, the fact that the Danish embassy in Ukraine submitted an official question to the Ukrainian authorities expressing its concern about the list, would have contributed to the pressure on Ukraine over the list from inside NATO countries. Such pressure from within NATO countries, including the press coverage in Denmark and Germany, may have led to the list being taken off the CCD homepage, according to intelligence experts EIR has spoken to. However, the list still appears on its Facebook and Telegram pages, and some people on the list appear on the larger Myrotvorets hitlist.
It is relevant that MP Marie Krarup is an expert in Russian affairs. Among other degrees, she holds a master’s in political science in the Eastern European States and social studies, from the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University, 1996, and was a military officer of the Reserve with basic training in the Russian language, 1985-1987. She was assistant defense attaché with the rank of major at the Danish Embassy in Moscow, 1998-2001, and head of section, International Division of the Danish Defense, 1997-1998. Beginning 2011, MP Krarup was a parliament member from the rightwing Danish People’s Party, but left the party on Feb. 26, 2022 along with several other parliament members after a new chairman was elected. She is now independent.
In initiating this consultation with the Foreign Minister, and in her tenacious questioning throughout the hour, on this issue, MP Marie Krarup has made a very important contribution to the international campaign to condemn the CCD blacklist.
MP Marie Krarup’s introduction and the beginning of Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod’s initial response follow. Additional important excerpts from the consultation may be found here, in the hope that the questions posed by the two parliamentarians may serve as an inspiration to other parliamentarians and congressmen, to demand that their government officials denounce the blacklist, and protect the freedom of speech and the security of the people on the list, and others who are speaking out about the most important question of war or peace in our time.
Tom Gillesberg, Chairman of the Schiller Institute in Denmark, contributed to this article.
Major Danish Daily: CCD is ‘Orwellian’
Jyllands-Posten, one of Denmark’s three leading national newspapers, posted an editorial Aug. 11 under the title “Ukraine and Free Speech.” The editorial states:
It is worrying when Ukraine blacklists researchers and others who have a different view of the conflict from the unequivocally pro-Ukrainian one.
It begins by stating the newspaper’s total support for Ukraine’s “struggle for freedom” and that Ukraine “naturally belongs in Europe, and eventually in the European Union.” But it then challenges the blacklist published by the Center for Countering Disinformation (CCD). To join the EU, they write,
There are conditions to be met. Among them is the fundamental acceptance of free speech. [Despite the war,] it is still necessary for the country, and especially its President, to show that it accepts free speech and the right to disagree.
The editorial describes the CCD’s blacklist as “like something out of George Orwell’s 1984,” and describes the 72 people targeted as “international politicians, thinkers and researchers, including four Danes [actually three from Denmark and one Swede —ed.].” Importantly, the editors identify what these four have in common:
[T]hey took part in a seminar at the end of May [sponsored by the Schiller Institute —ed.] on alternatives to the current security policy structure in the world in order to reduce tensions and the division of countries into, for example, members and non-members of NATO; the theme of the seminar and the questioning of Western sanctions policy are of course perfectly legitimate in a free and open society.... [To blacklist researchers and others] can hardly be seen as anything other than an attempt to silence them and label any angle other than the pro-Ukrainian one as pro-Russian, and thus on the wrong side of history.
They conclude with a warning to the Ukraine regime:
[I]n rejecting free speech, free research and free debate, it is precisely Ukraine and its President who are in danger of moving to the wrong side, far from the ideals that they will hopefully pursue on the other side of the war. [back to text]