This war image has caused the fire to spread
throughout much of the world.
(Author note: This article begins a series on Denmark’s anti-sovereignty foreign policy support for US imperial wars, as well as Danes solidarity with anti-racist, anti-police brutality resistance in the US and at home.)
“Just as our neighbors to the South were never alone, this time the US people are receiving the solidarity of millions throughout the world,” wrote the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, June 4.
This research-information organization (COHA) promotes inter-American relations since its founding in Washington DC, in 1975. It points out that the US has consistently intervened and invaded Latin America and allowed and encouraged its preferred national leaders to commit horrendous human rights abuses.
The organization writes that it has “exposed the underside of corrupt governance in Latin America…today that corruption is undeniably present in our front yard.”
Latin Americans are now demonstrating against US internal racism and police brutality in several Caribbean and South American countries. European colonialists had first enslaved indigenous and African peoples before the US pushed Europe aside, in order to take over oppressing and dominating the same peoples. Many Latinos protest US’s “manifest destiny” intervention in front of the “Embassy of Death” as they call the United States Embassy.
Their anger and solidarity with US rebels has carried over to Europe, which has more than not turned its head away from US oppression and hypocrisy. European governments are at the beck and calling when the US decides to invade countries with the excuse of “protecting human rights”.
The Council on Hemispheric Affairs joins in this “world-wide outcry”, and asks the United Nations to condemn US’s repression of peaceful protestors and media workers covering them. COHA also asks the UN to condemn the “longstanding practice of systemic racism. If the US is not called to account, the multilateral system would indeed be guilty of the same racist chauvinism on display within the US borders.”
Demonstrations are occurring in many cities throughout Western Europe, from Copenhagen, Berlin, Paris, Munich, Brussels to London. At the recent Munich Security Conference Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger inked a solidarity statement with the possibility that US America is “no longer” (sic) the place where “I have a dream” is real and a universal program.
Twenty thousand people demonstrated before the “Embassy of Death” in Paris in solidarity with the rebellion in the US and demanded a reopening of an investigation into the killing of 24 year-old Adama Traorés. He died at the hands of French police hands, who were observed pressing hard upon his heart.
Demonstrators declared that police violence in France against dark-skinned people, especially of Arab descent, is the same as in the US against blacks.
In Brussels, a march of 10,000 protested at the statute of one of the world’s most brutal colonialist murderers, King Leopold II (1835-1909). He had millions of Congolese de-limbed or murdered for failing to meet his quotas of slave production. During Leopold’s reign, the Congo’s rubber and Elephant ivory-activities funded building construction throughout Belgium.
While Belgian protestors painted Leopold’s statue in red and defaced it with graffiti, in Bristol, England, protestors tore down the lighter bronze statue of slave trader Edward Colston. Between 1672 and 1689, Colston sold about 100,000 West Africans into slavery. As in some cities of the US, local police let this “constructive destruction” process happen unpunished. The police chief expressed “understanding.”
In London, protestors have written graffiti on a Churchill statue for his racist stances and actions, and against England’s long history of racist colonialism. A planned demonstration by anti-racists was cancelled, because fascists organized a violent counter-demonstration.
Danes take on racism and police violence
A group of Danes, some originally from Africa, started an unofficial affiliate of Black Lives Matter. They held one of the first demonstrations in Europe in Copenhagen, May 31. Over 2,000 people rallied in front of the US “Embassy of Death” to show solidarity with racist-police brutality resistance in the US, and racism in Denmark. They marched further to Chrisitansborg castle, the seat of royal (sic), state and parliamentary power.
Since then, several hundreds of Danes have protested racism and police brutality in other cities: Aarhus, Odense, Aalborg, and again in Copenhagen (June 7) when between 15,000 and 50,000 (police and BLM estimates) gathered. This was the largest protest since 100,000 marched for the end of planetary pollution at the COP 15 climate summit in December 2009.
Mass media coverage of both demonstrations in the US and Denmark have been unusually sympathetic in tone and accuracy. Even participants’ views are reported by some dailies, radio, and TV media. Examples: “We black and Arab peoples meet discrimination and racist abuse on a daily basis; I have been spit upon in public transportation and called all kinds of racist names; There is a Danish candy call ‘Negro balls’; For us with dark skin jobs are harder to get than for whites.”
The liberal newspaper, Politiken, took an unusually favorable protestor’s stance when concluding an article by quoting a speaker at a rally: “Violence’s character takes perhaps a different form here [than in the US], but this is not an ‘American problem’. It is a colonialist problem. It is a white supremacist problem. It is a European problem. It is a Danish problem. It is a capitalist problem!”
Everyday Politiken and the state-supported Denmark Radio and TV news have been reporting on the uprising. In the past several days, Politiken has had three to five full-page coverage, including on events in Denmark and other countries. A unique anti-racist happening took place at a professional soccer match last week when an African-American player for a Danish team, 26 year-old Brianne Reed, not only got her team but the opponent’s as well to kneel before the match. The male teams followed her lead, and the following day several teams in the Super-league matches did the same.
This show of solidarity for victims of racism is an historic first in Danish sports.
Reed told the newspaper, “There is racism all over the world, also in [sports].” Reed has been a resident in Denmark for 18 months and has learned that refugees are not well treated. She stated, “Maybe there is something you have to talk through here.”
Reed’s initiative could perhaps unleash an educational discussion about Denmark/Scandinavian’s historically brutal racism similar to that of other colonial powers.
Between 800 and 1200 much of Scandinavia was dominated by Vikings. They were great swordsmen and boat builders. They plundered, raped, tortured, murdered and enslaved tens of thousands of people in many lands including Scandinavians—Irish, Welsh, Britons, Slavs, French, even as far away as Russia. They treated slaves brutally, sometimes “sacrificing” them to please concocted gods, or because the slaves wished better conditions.
Today, the royal (sic) family still exists because of the myth of its superiority over all other Danes because they possess Viking blood, albeit quite watered down through a millennium of intermarriage. Few Danes desire a republic. A large majority think it is fine that they pay the queen and her family ca. $20 million yearly just as “income” let alone many millions more every time she/they visit a Danish town or travel abroad.
Danes view Vikings, who started the “royal kingdom” domination, as a symbol of good living, of skilled craftsmanship, of strength and adventure. Untold numbers of plays, films, songs honor them. Sports groups, shops, restaurants, and products use Viking for their names and labels.
I know of no white Dane (other than a handful of obscure communists) to take umbrage at Vikings. On the contrary, there is no debate in society about this cruel and murderous heritage. Nor is there any official debate about Denmark’s colonial history extending from 1536 to 1953.
Its colonies extended from the North Atlantic areas of Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands to the south Atlantic—the Danish West Indies in the Caribbean—the Gold Coast in Ghana, and Tranquebar and Serampore in Asia.
From the latter half of the 17th century until 1917, three Caribbean islands (St. Thomas, St. Jan and St. Croix) were Danish colonies. Denmark sold them to the United States, in 1917, for $25 million without asking or benefiting the natives. The US renamed them the Virgin Islands.
The United Nations considers these islands as Non-Self-Governing Territories deemed subject to the decolonization process. The US views them as “unincorporated territory.” Most of the 110,000 inhabitants are African-Caribbean.
Denmark’s last colonies were the Faroes islands until 1948, and Greenland, whose colonial status ceased in 1953. They are now autonomous territories within the “Kingdom of Denmark” with home rule, in a relationship referred to as the “Unity of the Realm”.
Pleasing the US at all costs
Not only are the Vikings and “royalty” sacred in Denmark but since WWII so is the United States military empire. Despite the fact that a combination of English and Russian soldiers liberated Denmark in May 1945 most Danes believe it is the United States that did so. That is the case because of the Marshall Plan, and because the US media/film world has become dominant in the country. The Marshall Plan deserves an article in itself but for now let it suffice to say that this economic “contribution” was key to US’s domination of Western Europe, and in preventing several countries’ majority wish to go in a socialist and even Communist direction. Furthermore, many US firms scored hugely from the plan that required recipients to trade with US corporations and hire them to rebuild Europe. Nevertheless, much of the “investments” were actually loans that were eventually repaid with national currencies.
Since 1990 with the US’s partial invasion of Iraq, Denmark has ceased being neutral and partakes in all US/NATO wars. Denmark still participates in war missions in Afghanistan (now 19 years in duration, somewhat in Iraq, and in Kosovo and Estonia. Denmark has also sent fighter jets it buys from the US and uses to bomb people in Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.
A new book, War Representation, written by Danish political scientists Anders Wivel and Rasmus Mariager documents how Danish governments and the general population have gone from a defense policy of protection to “aggressive use of power”.
Why, the authors ask? Answer: “to accommodate United States wishes.” That means even if other European nations are reluctant or refuse, instead of standing with Europe, Denmark stands with the US.
“Over three decades we have become a warring nation…shoulder to shoulder with the United States all the way.” “Shoulder to Shoulder” was an expression that Social Democrat Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen used for support with the US in its wars following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Among contemporary aggressive pro-war displays are: instituting “flag day” that celebrates the 40,000 troops already sent abroad to war for the US, war memorials, “support our troops” bumper stickers, and many thousands of traumatized returning soldiers.
For the first time in modern Danish history, people in many countries view Denmark as a war-maker, not a peace-maker.
President Donald Trump planned to visit Denmark September 2-3, 2019, shortly after the Social Democrats won an election to govern the country. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is an alleged feminist, as is its Defense (sic) Minister, Trine Bramsen. These are the types of leaders that Bernie Sanders points to as being the best, because they are allegedly “democratic socialists”.
In preparation for the visit, Trump thought he could buy Greenland and asked Frederiksen to put that on the agenda for discussion. I suppose Trump calculated that since Denmark had already delivered its foreign policy sovereignty to “the greatest country in the world” that it would be willing to sell him Greenland where the military empire already has maintained an important military base at Thule since the start of WW II.
After the German occupation of Denmark in April 9, 1940, Henrik Kauffmann, Danish Ambassador to the United States, made an agreement with the US, “In the name of the king”, albeit without the king’ knowledge, authorizing the US to defend Denmark’s colony Greenland from German aggression. This caused the Danish protectorate government to charge Kauffmann with high treason.
After Denmark joined NATO, in 1949, a new agreement was secretly made, in 1951, by the Danish government accepting the air base but without atomic weapons, a sipulation which the US simply ignored.
On 21 January 1968, a US B-52 aircraft accident occurred near the base. The aircraft was carrying four B28FI thermonuclear bombs on a Cold War mission when a cabin fire forced the crew to abandon the aircraft before they could land at the base. The bomber crashed onto sea ice in North Star Bay, causing conventional explosives aboard to detonate the nuclear “payload” (militarist euphemism) which ruptured resulting in radioactive contamination with deaths to follow.
The US and Denmark launched a recovery operation, but one of the nuclear weapons could not be accounted for. In 1995, a political scandal broke out in Denmark after it was revealed that the government had given tacit permission for nuclear weapons to be located in Greenland, in contravention of Denmark’s 1957 nuclear-free zone policy.
The Danish government still kowtows to US jingoist interests. However, the new PM made a “diplomatic mistake” by telling the national media what she actually meant about Trump’s proposal to buy Greenland: “absurd”. Her honest, yet naïve, expression caused Trump to quip that she was “nasty”, and he cancelled his trip to Denmark. Shortly thereafter, Frederiksen spoke to him on the phone. We don’t know what she told him but he tweeted that she is “wonderful”. When they met briefly during an international meeting in New York, she told the media: “We swing well together.”
Frederiksen and Danish politicians were caught off guard by Trump’s cancellation. As Politiken wrote, August 24, 2019, “For many years, Denmark has been one of the most active countries in sending troops to the US-led operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, among others. Among other reasons, Donald Trump’s cancellation was met with harsh criticism from Danish politicians from parties in both sides of the parliamentary hall.”
The Danish Establishment decided to make any concessions it figured would placate the United States president.
On the day Trump would have been in Denmark, 1000 of us demonstrated against US-Denmark wars while the prime minister announced that her government was sending four war jets Denmark had bought from the US to “protect” the Baltic from the big bad Russian bear.
Frederiksen also announced Denmark was buying top-notch sonar so it could help the US search for alleged Russian submarines in “Western” seas. There would be more funds for NATO. The defense budget has always been low, under two percent of the national budget. Now, the “defense” budget would be increased by 20% over a six-year plan.
Denmark’s feministic-socialistic war minister also announced that she would use her elite Commando troops and Navy Seals (Jaegerkorpset and Froemandskorpset) “all the more to protect” Denmark against Russia. She announced this without stating what the threat was, but assured us that this “fellowship” with NATO/US will “be effective when there is need for it.”
(Russia cannot possibly invade any European country since all 29 NATO lands stand together for counter-attack, which includes the military giant United States and its key ally Israel.)
On Flag Day, September 5, mothers and fathers in military uniforms pinned war medals on 700 children chosen that day, because their parents were or had been sent out to do their duty for war. The media printed a photo of a mother in uniform pinning a war medal on a child five years old.
On the following day, the prime minister, war minister, and secretary of state (Jeppe Kofod) announced the same number of soldiers (700) would be sent to war zones or potential war zones: Syria, North Africa, the Baltic for starters. The explanation for this escalation was “Russia’s aggressive behavior in the East”, plus terrorists in many countries. They will also sail Denmark’s largest vessel, a frigate, to assist a US aircraft carrier group. Denmark will assist US in its sanctions and saber-rattling against Iran. Denmark already participates in war missions in Afghanistan (now for 18 years) still a bit in Iraq, and “defense” of Kosovo and Estonia. They will continue to do so.
“We have once again been asked to contribute to peace and stability out in the world’s hot spots. I am proud of that,” asserted the “Social Democrat” war minister Trina Bramsen.
During September week of jingoistic swashbuckling, 40 war ships with 4,500 marines from 16 NATO countries docked in Copenhagen’s harbor. The government also extended its territory reserved for military war game maneuvers from 6000 to 14,000 hectares. The “royal family’s” main home, Amalienborg Palace, was blocked off from all traffic by huge bronze bollards. Christiansborg Castle had been blocked off earlier.
Then, at the end of September, 2000 Danish soldiers played war games in west Denmark for an entire week, the largest “defense maneuvers” in 15 years. They experimented with increasing the numbers of soldiers to fight in battalions from between 450-1000 up to 4000 since the “Ruskies” allegedly have a lot of soldiers that could invade.
War minister Bramsen explained: “Danish security is under press,” and we must be prepared to defend ourselves from an “invasion”. Her “defense experts” call this “a necessary saber-rattling”.
What more could the US military empire ask of its little Viking ally? The US’s current president got what he wanted without wasting his time and tax money on a trip to Banana Kingdom Denmark.
RON RIDENOUR is a US journalist and anti-war activist living in Denmark. He is a new member of www.thiscantbehappening.net. His books, “The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert” and ‘Winding Brook Stories’ are available at Amazon and Lulu. His other work can be found at ronridenour.com; firstname.lastname@example.org