2006 State Dept Cable: Cartoon Riots a Good Way to Keep Denmark in Wars

Cable Expresses Concern at Danish PM's Support for Free Speech

In a September 2006 cable from the US Embassy in Copenhagen (WikiLeaks ID 06COPENHAGEN1327) detailed the lingering tensions after the first anniversary of the Danish cartoon riots, and expressed relief that an informant at Jyllands-Posten newspaper reported the paper had decided against publishing the cartoons again.

At the same time, the cable described the riots as having “positive and negative implications for the US.” Going into detail, they made clear that the “good” aspect of the riots was that they had solidified the Danish government’s support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The negative aspect would seem incredible to anyone unfamiliar with the WikiLeaks cablegate releases up to this point and the comfort with which State Department officials condemn the notion of personal freedom throughout. The negative aspect, and this is a direct quote, is that “this popular center-right government has hardened its views on the absolute primacy of free speech.”

Of course official US hostility to the notion of a free press should come as no surprise, particularly at this moment, with officials attempting to censor the details of such reports themselves. Repeatedly in the cable, however, officials look disapprovingly at the government of Anders Fogh Rasmussen (who has since become NATO’s Secretary General) for its unwillingness to even consider censoring the Danish press, and their annoyance that the opposition wasn’t taking the opportunity to chastize him for his position, describing free speech as “a third rail issue in Danish politics.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.