Environment and peace were united in 1972

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The demonstration at Sergels Torg outside the premises of the Conference, against the environmental murder of Vietnam, the first mass demo at a global summit. Photo Björn Gustafsson

There is something to learn from past experiences as we now face significant global threats. Not least how this awareness was brought about by a popular commitment. When we now celebrate the World Environment Day, June 5, in memory of the opening of the first day of the UN Conference on the Environment in Stockholm in 1972, there is reason to see what lessons we can draw from history.

A population movement for survival emerged in the 1940s and 1950s. That was when the consciousness arose that the nuclear bomb posed a global threat to humanity. A type of threat of total annihilation that mankind has not previously known. Soon enough, the World Federalist Movement could hand over a shovel to the Palace Guard in Stockholm in 1957 and the chairman of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Association Per-Anders Fogelström talked about the same thing. Redirect the defense budget to support amending hunger and poverty in the world.

In 1972, in conjunction with the first UN conference on the environment in Stockholm, the realization arose that peace and the environment are connected. The concept ”environmental murder” came into use. Olof Palme used it at the conference to the great anger of the United States. Outside at Sergel’s Square, 7000 demonstrated against the poisonng of Vietnam’s forests with Agent Orange. The damage was widespread in this war against nature; to ensure that no one could hide from US helicopters and aircraft the forests of 15 percent of the land area were decomposed. The United States didn’t care about genetic damage to the women when the land was environmentally murdered to win the war. The children born by the mothers who were sprayed are filling the hospitals in Vietnam to this day.

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Streets and squares were frequently used by the peace and environmental movements during the conference, as in this case with a poster against the environmental murder of Vietnam. Photo Björn Gustafsson

The popular movements’ demonstrations and alternative forums became a turning point for the environmental movement. So far, the environmental movement had accepted the framework set by the current development model. It din’t want or dare to imagine changing social power relations in society. Instead, it preferred to talk about choosing the right technology and everything would be fine. Therefore, organizations such as the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and its youth organization the Field Biologists supported nuclear power. How else could you save the last rivers from being exploited? Another view was found only in small marginal groups such as the Working Group on Nuclear Power and the Health Promotion Movement.

The alternative activities surrounding the UN Conference changed this. The driving force behind these was the Powwow group, which took its name from the Indians’ concept of meeting where the peace pipe goes around. This small group of 12 people took the initiative one year in advance to spread leaflets, call for local actions internationally, information meetings and the cooperation organization Folkets Forum, or People’s Forum. In response, the Environmental Forum arose from the initiative of Anglo-American strategists in the secretariat of the UN Conference. It was governed by the Swedish Youth Council and the Swedish UN Association with its chairman Ingrid Segerstedt-Wiberg in the leadership of the entire forum.

The Anglo-American environmental movement with its close ties to the state, large corporations and a de-politicized hippie culture, where drugs replaced social criticism, came to suffer major defeat. So far, it had dominated the international debate. The issue of population growth was said to be the big problem. In the book Population Explosion, Paul Ehrlich pleaded for forced sterilization of men in Third World countries such as India. In a book from the US-initiated international Friends of the Earth before the conference, commons were seen as the major threat to the environment. A widespread view originally from the eco-fascist Garret Harding through the concept “the tragedy of the commons”. The solutions to the environmental issue consisted of population control at least of poor, better morals of the individual and that private ownership advanced at the expense of the commons.

An alliance between Swedish popular movements of all kinds and peoples of the Third World, as well as individual US peace and environmental activists such as Barry Commoner, thwarted the Anglo-American mix of large corporate private profit interests and the concept of too many poor people as causes of environmental degradation. The international contact network of the Young Theosophists was used to invite many environmental activists from the Third World with the help of Ingrid Segerstedt-Wiberg. The Director General of the Swedish Statistics Office demonstrated that rich people’s consumption did more harm to the environment than poor peoples’ numbers, and furthermore that forced sterilization was less efficient than contraceptives to bring numbers down. The Powwow group’s initiative, which criticized the entire UN conference for being a smokescreen in service to those in power, made its mark. The United FNL Groups ensured that there were thousands on the streets and squares willing to protest against the US environmental killings. The dominant position that the pro-capitalist and sometimes eco-fascist ideas conveyed by the Anglo-American environmental movement never again gained the central dominance they had before the UN Conference.

A more unified alternative to the Anglo-American environmental ideology was delayed for some time. But it was in its infancy. In 1973, the Stockholm environmental group Alternative City published the booklet Low Energy Society – but how? Here, the view was presented that both nuclear power and the climate must be saved, which can only be done by changing the power relations so that we get a society in need of less energy. An approach far more radical than most that is brought forth today by the climate movement in Sweden, but prominent in the Friends of the Earth International and global campaigns that demand climate justice. Unlike the environmental movement in 1972, many people nowadays seem to have the illusions that UN conferences will be the starting point for everyone if we are to solve the global social and ecological crisis. To many nowadays, the message is that if we only trust cooperation between business, the state and what is now called civil society, then win-win solutions will save us. Sometimes with civil disobedience on individual issues such as pressure and dissemination of local alternatives.

What became a more immediate effect of the alternative activities in 1972 was that the fight against nuclear power became central in both Sweden and internationally. To this, not least, Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg, chair of the International Women’s Association for Peace and Freedom, encouraged the environmental movement to realize that peaceful nuclear power was a myth.

But even the Friends of the Earth in the United States had begun to take nuclear power seriously, which now came into its own when the dominant Anglo-American environmental ideology was challenged by Swedish peoples movements and third-world environmentalists. From the Powwow group grew a study circle with Annika Bryn as a driving force who in 1973 published the booklet Alternatives to nuclear power which influenced parliamentarans. In the Riksdag, Center Party member Birgitta Hambraeus had a central role in getting Sweden as the first country in the world to introduce a unanimous moratorium for continued nuclear expansion in new locations, which caught the haughty nuclear industry napping. In the Environmental Protection Group’s National Association, the Liberal Anita Lövgren from the Tyresö Environmental Conservation Association pushed a broad interest in the country’s many environmental groups for the nuclear issue.

1972 thus showed that the peace and environmental movement need each other. What happened also showed that power must be challenged and the question of how the whole of society is organized must be centered. That still applies.

Tord Björk,
once active in the Powwow group as a teenager and today an activist in the Friends of the Earth, Activists for Peace and the People and Peace Network.

The implosion of walls between movements in reaction to COVID19

Summary:

All main international people’s movement respond with a comprehensive program on the COVID19 crisis including the Pope. The exception is the main trade union organizations but here Trade Union for Energy Democracy has instead addressed a wide range of issues by organizing a global webinar on COVID19. Main international organizations in women’s, small farmer’s, environmental, peace and antiimperialist movements all sees the need of addressing the current crisis in a broad way largely overlapping each others main areas of interest. A new situation have emerged making far more radical people’s movement cooperation across many issues possible. The analysis puts emphasis on class conscious strategies. It shows that the weakest link are the trade unions. La Via Campesina and its call for class alliances between people in rural and urban areas is emphasised as a way forward. The fastest way to strengthen global movement cooperation is to bring closer together the middle class based environmental and peace movements. This would be a more attractive cooperation partner to most trade unions. This would also weaken geopolitical polarizations and make socio-ecological dimensions more central which helps international solidarity and the kind of class alliances asked for by La Via Campesina.

People's movements COVID statements overview

Long time coming

It has been long time coming. With the COVID19 pandemic the main international people’s movements came out of the closet. Each one delivering their answer not only on how to solve the coronacrisis but also the general crisis which the present pandemic has made more explicit.

The interesting thing is that with one exception this implosion of walls do not take place by cooperating across the main movements althoug such cooperation have in many ways preceeded the current situation. It takes place by the fact that each movement to a very large degree also address the concerns of other movements. Thus a foundation is built on which further cooperation can be built on the strength on each movement and not a least common denominator,

This development made explicit by the internationalistic answers to the coronacrisis is presented by Activists for Peace, a Swedish peace organization which is a member of the social forum network Prague Spring 2 (PS2) and the Swedish network Folk och Fred (People and Peace). Statements from main international women’s, small farmers, trade unions, environmental, antiimperialist and peace movement as well as from the Pope have been compared to each other to make it possible to assess what is going on.

The collection of statements was done in the process of organizing the webinar ”Internationalistic answers to the corona crisis” 26th of April 2020. It was initiated by PS2 and organized together with the anti racist network UNITED, Youth Environment Europe (YEE), International Youth Naturefriends (IYFN), Transform Europe and SpED, Czechia, SZAB, Hungary and Activists for peace, Sweden.

The study is made to enable an exchange of experience among movements. Thus it has no ambition to be part of any academic or professional research tradition as the need for movements to get inspiration and learn from each other is here and now. The time for a more systematic study can come further on. The categories used to frame what issues are addressed by different movements can at times be arbitrary or questioned in other ways. Sometimes the problem with the category might be that its essential quality is to cross common categories like militarization which might both be an issue concerning foreign policy but also growing domestic authoritarian tendencies. Quite a few of the categories can be questioned including why some issues becomes very detailed and others broadly defined. But the idea is here rather to make people to go to the source and read more precisely what different organizations says rather then providing an unquestionable taxonomy.

All movements are represented by their main stream organization or maybe one should say man organization. One could say that farmers have stronger organizations than the small farmer organization La Via Campesina International (LVCI). But LVCI have a far larger membership with some 200 million members and a presence in all corners of the world with a similar political program which makes it a key factor for rural communities. International Peace Bureau (IPB) is by far the most established peace organization with its 128 years since it started. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) has not produced a statement but published more articles on the coronacrisis than any other international people’s movement included in this study and the links to their articles are enclosed. War Resister’s International is also included as they have made a statement on COVID19 and represents a more radical part of the peace movement since the 1920s.

From the environmental movement two organization stands out. One is Friends of the Earth international. This is the biggest democratic international environmental organization with some 2 million members in total in 77 countries. There are other environmental organization with more resources like WWF and Greenpeace but they have no democratic membership base and is of less interest when we discuss how peoples movements react to the coronacrisis. Interesting is also 350.org which is the maybe globally most influential among the signatories to the Demand Climate Justice statement. How this organization is democratically controlled by a membership it is hard to find out. But 350.org has been able to organize already in 2009 local actions in 6000 places on all continents and is still a main organizer of international climate actions. Fridays for Future (FFF) is not included in this study as they have not responded to the COVID19 crisis and is a broad alliance based on a small common ground. But it should be pointed out that FFF is not a single issue movement as it address often with equal importance the protection of biological diversity and oppose art extinction thus challenging fundamentally the focus only on emission and industry so often dominating earlier climate campaigning. Extinction Rebellion also address art extinction in a similar vein while some of their groups have joined the Demand Climate Justice statement.

Global feminism is organized in several ways. World March of Women (WMW) stands out as being mass action oriented and firmly based among populations belonging to the global majority. This feminist movement cooperates closely with other peoples movements as La Via Campesina and anti transnational corporations campaigns. One can compare WMW established in 1998 with Women’s March Global (WMG) established in 2017. While WMW has its constitution and bylaws easily accessible under the Who we are in the menu such democratic clarity is hard to find on new Women’s March Global webpage. This webpage is well designed and local chapters are presented, 2/3 from the North and the rest from the South while proportions for national chapters of WMW is the opposite. The lack of democratic clarity is common among international networks based in the US or UK. Interesting is how this kind of network reacts on the corona crisis which is so far with silence. Thus although these kind of networks are resourceful they seem to respond later if at all when a severe global crisis appears and effects their own area of work.

The exception among the movements is the trade unions. The dominant International trade Union Confederation (ITUC) with some 180 million members has only produced a very narrow statement on the coronacrisis addressing only social rights in sharp contrast to all other movements. The 75 year old World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) has only presented a video with a message from its general secretary equally narrow in its scope addressing the important issue for workers of raised cost for necessities when speculators double or tenfold prices. The same broad approach held by all other movements was instead present at an international webinar on the corona crisis organized by Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED).

Trade Unions, Via Campesina, solidarity movements as well as political parties are members of the International People´s Assembly (IPA) with continental and subcontinental chapters world wide. This cooperation between mass movements especially i Latin America, Africa, Arab countries, South Asia and Southeastern Asia with a European secretariat and network as well can be seen as the newest and in some aspects most well organized multi issue international people’s movement cooperation in the current crisis. It is an anticapitalist and antiimperialist network responding quickly on the coronacrisis by exchanging evaluation of the situation and what to say between the continents. The influence of IPA can also be seen in the so far most spread common statement by several main movements that so far has received almost 500 signatories from organizations world wide: In Light of the Global Pandemic, Focus Attention on the People.

Pope Francis Easter message: our brothers and sisters of popular movements and organizations has also been included. It represents one of the important convergences between movements and religious institutions and is as all above examples a process that has developed in a more comprehensive directions already before the COVID19 outbreak. The language of the Pope is different from the organizations but covers the same subjects. Furthermore it address the strategy forward in a manner were people in common are at the center and both market and state solutions are seen as insufficient which makes this statement important for the future.

 

Size does not matter

Some conclusion can be made. One is the size does not matter with the exception of the longest of the statements. It is true that two out of the four short circa 1 page statements are more single issue than comprehensive. Both ITUC and WRI have a narrow answer on the corona crisis in the two documents included in the study. But WMW and the Pope have in the same space been able to address as many wide issues as movement statements twice as long. The exception is the statements made by the Global Campaign Demand Climate Justice (DCJ) that thanks to its length address more issues than the other statements.

 

What areas are included?

Three areas of interest were fairly easy to distinguish between, one being social and economical, here seen as belong to the same group of issues, ecological issues and peace. More problematic was democracy issues. Such issues including the closely related issue of militarization in general of society including domestic conflicts were put together. Finally issues concerning existential question and how to act were added as two issues of interest in themselves.

What becomes clear is that all the movements address social and economic issues and all with the exception of ITUC also calls for a change of the economic system. As one could imagine it is health care the receives the most intense interest while actually social rights more in general is almost given the same importance. Interestingly demands for a change of the economic system in different ways receives great importance from all but ITUC and WRI that do not comment on the subject.

When it comes to environmental issues the attention is more varied. Food sovereignty and similar issues receives more interest than any other issues besides the social and economical field. The cause of the COVID19 pandemic receives surprisingly little interest. The only concerned is the climate justice movement and environmentalists. Climate just a short time ago a main priority for many organizations have drastically fallen behind among other than environmental movements with the exception of IPA.

Peace movement issues have a slightly different pattern. In total the interest is similar but differently distributed. While stopping wars is explicitly mentioned by the peace organizations, WMW, and vaguely by LVCI end armament is mentioned of course by the peace organizations and this time also by IPA and the joint statement by 479 organizations. The biggest difference in the pattern compared to environmental issues is that one of the aspects peace movement issues has not been included by any of the peace organizations. Instead opposing economic sanctions is brought forward by IPA and cooperation partners as well as WMW.

The issues of democracy and militarization causes both concern among WMW, LVCI and environmental organizations while the peace organizations only bring up militarization and the pope only address the need to support those that stands up for their rights. That ITUC and IPA including cooperation partners does not explicitly address none of these issues can rather be seen as that was is self evident that theses organization support must not be mentioned. Now such an argument could be used for making an excuse also for other missing issues but it can be an argument that ig is more telling in the other cases than this.

Finally existential issues and action methods are added. Not because they belong much to the same category or that one can say much about why an organization have mentioned them or not except for the Catholic Church. They are included anyway as a reminder that faced with a pandemic everything is not only politics and the other side of the coin, politics has also to be practised.

 

Unique qualities

There are some interesting unique qualities when looking at the more detailed account including what actors the organizations focused upon. That several organizations are unique in their area of special interest is not surprising. Standing out are the environmental organizations that together are alone on 6 issues out whom FOEI has unique interest in forestry and energy. When it comes to peace issues it is not the peace organizations that alone address some issues but IPA as they mentions to put an end to foreign military bases. In social and economic issues there is no unique interest, all issues are addressed by at least two organizations.

When it comes to actors the interest is more diverse. The two receiving most attention is small farmers addressed both by IPA et al, LVCI, DCJ, FOEI and the Pope and TNCs opposed by WMW, LVCI, DCJ, and FOEI while seen as a cooperation partner by ITUC. Indigenous people only receive attention from the environmental organizations. The two receiving unique interest is those in rehabilitation centers included by the Pope and prisoners included by the climate justice movement.

 

The way forward

When looking at the way the different movement address the corona crisis and frame it in a wider context there is one thing that become especially clear. The greatest potential lies in a mutual learning process between the environmental and peace movement. The environmental organizations interest in the three main peace issues stop war, armament and end sanctions is as blank as the peace organizations interest in their statements concerning stopping environmental destruction causing pandemics, climate change or food sovereignty. And yet we know that these movement are grown out of the same interest and have much in common. Now we also know that the interest for climate change is strong in the peace movement and the interest for stopping armament in the environmental movement. But further strengthening of understanding of common interests will strengthen not only both movements but also in general people movement cooperation to address the crisis at its roots. The peace movement have largely been marginalized as a result of growing competition for natural resources were us democracies in demand for oil and cheap food are in conflict with them, the dictators and terrorist. The peace movement has been portrayed as working in the interest unwillingly or willingly of the other side of geopolitical cleavages. The environmental movement on the other side has been embraced as few other movements at the risk of loosing its role as a threat capable of causing substantial change.

Seen from a class perspective the kind of classes that are the main members of environmental and peace organizations are at least in the North what is often called middle classes. They have as been seen in history a capability of mobilizing far wider in society beyond their class limits. Only when in a local community or at national and sometimes even transnational level a larger part of the working classes is involved can there be lasting victories. The working classes in agriculture and forestry in rural areas are especially important for environmental struggles. But workers in industrial economy as well as services and many time the unseen mostly female work behind the scenes to sustain a protest outside workplaces are of equal importance in the struggle against environmental destruction and war. Social struggles can often be carried out successfully when the class in question mobilize itself and receives solidarity from others seeing that it is in their own interest to do so. But quite a few environmental and peace issues get their strength through building of class alliances. Here environmental and peace organization can contribute uniquely to the family of peoples movement by coming more together on a common platform including ending of sanctions which in the time of COVID19 pandemic is of crucial importance.

Concerning social issues there are already a broad common ground and when it comes to democracy, authoritarian rule and militarization such a common ground seems also be fairly easy to achieve. When ot comes to practical ways of doing politics all the movements that made the statements hare well experienced and with further exchange of ideas and testing new ways of achieving mass participation this issue can also be fruitfully addressed. When it comes to existential issues it might be a more private matter. But it is becoming a wider recognition in all movements that it is not enough to resist and construct alternatives but it is also needed to celebrate. In Latin America the movements calls it Mistica, in other parts of the world similar cultural celebrations of what we are and do together by singing, dancing, reading poetry, making posters or street theater and the like is also an issue were we can learn more from each other.

Standing out as a problem are the trade unions or at least ITUC. But also here there might be new ways forward. In its description of the webinar organized by TUED on union responses to the COVID19 crisis with some 70 unions in 25 countries participating. This webinar addressed far wider issues than ITUC in its statement to G20 leaders. Among the issues were attacks on worker rights and health and safety including indirect effects of the pandemic due to the massive disruption to lives and livelihoods, and the threat of food insecurity. These disruptures are pointed out as being ”themselves a result of decades of austerity and increased privatization under neoliberalism, and the severe depletion of public health systems, other public services, and worker rights and protections.” How to advance international solidarity and pro-public solutions to the immediate challenges, was addressed together with solutions to the enduring ecological crisis. As TUED is an important part of the climate movement there are a growing core of organizations in all movements seeing the need to address the current crisis as a whole together with all other democratic peoples movements.

The probably fastest way to strengthen global movement cooperation is to bring closer together the middle class based environmental and peace movements on a class concious basis understanding the need of broader class alliances including indigenous people. This would be a more attractive cooperation partner to most trade unions. This would also weaken geopolitical polarizations and make socio-ecological dimensions more central. It would also strengthen rural workers and small farmers with their strong links to the environmental movement as an important part of the trade union family. The call made by La Via Campesina for class alliances between people in rural and urban areas is in the interest of many. A strengthening of ties between those working in agriculture, forestry, and fishery and those working in industry and services would also strengthening the urban trade unions.

This coming together will make it clear if an organization is more interested in maintaining the walls between different issues an be a junior partner to large well funded less democratic organization and the whims of media or been looked upon with contempt by those in power in spite of being a main organization within its filed of work as the issues the organization address at the moment is not seen as popular.

Organizations lacking a democratic membership base and mostly working with a single issue tactic can be good cooperation partners with democratic movements. An organization as Greenpeace built more like a company rather than association can do unique action were there is not local population like in the Antarctica. Avaaz can be a tool for making more and more single issue online petitions claiming to have more the 50 million members although those members are not having a democratic say in the way the political and economical decisions are made by this type of organization. These kind of organizations can get some attention and make some kind of political actions needed leaving room for peoples movements addressing all levels from the individual or family level to the local community, national and international level while also cooperating with other movements acting together.

The example with WMW and WMG* can be instructive. While WMW address the COVID19 crisis as wide as any other peoples movement the US based secretariat of the WMG has so far not been able to do so. WMG have taken part in main NGO campaigns as divest away from fossil fuels and on world peace day standing up together for peace against the forces of hate and exclusion. Other campaigns have called for an end of family separation, violence against women and slavery, the right to abortion, water rights, and stand with Kashmir. The present campaign address bodily autonomy and Free Saudi activists. In several movements we see this kind of often US or UK led NGOs doing important work but at times lacking coherence in the message so the movement can go forward. In the case of WMG it is not other mass movement which are main cooperation partner but WILPF and support comes from funds as Civicus. That these type of NGOs sometimes can have a very negative impact is the way Human Rights Watch have insistently called for more sanctions on Venezuela and supported the right wing military coup in Bolivia.** It has provided thin humanitarian justification for the war against Libya with devastating consequences. Such organizations often display clear double standards when it comes to which human rights to take into account and which one to ignore. With growing cooperation between international democratic movements the room for such biased way of handpicking which issues should be addressed and which should be not in the interest of donors rather than the democratic membership base will have less influence.

 

Ideological differences

There are of course clear ideological differences, mostly between ITUC and the rest. Pope Francis uses very different words than all the rest but there is no mistake to be made that he claims thatthe present economic system must change, only he calls it a cult of Mammon or in his more modern words ”the idolatry of money” rather than capitalism and sees people in common as the main agent of change, not representatives of organizations. Only ITUC sees corporations as mainly cooperation partners.

WMW and IPA are both explicitly anticapitalists IPA also antiimperialists. LVCI have a more outspoken class consciousness than any other movement in its statement. They say ”construct solidarity and class alliances, between rural and urban areas” while avoiding the concept capitalism and imperialism which they have used at other occasions. The signatories of the very radical common statement by organization initiated by IPA and signed by LVCI and in total 479 others is also avoiding the concepts capitalism and imperialism while in practice having formulated the probably most specific anticapitalist demands of all statements.

”International cooperation and not confrontation” is the way WRI use to describe its pacifist ideology. IPB talks in similar vein about a culture of peace: ”A peaceful path means that we need a global strategy, a global social contract, and global cooperation to ensure planet-wide support for people.” an ideology that can be interpreted in contrary direction as a way to seek win win solutions with corporations or as opposing such cooperation when corporations promote war. IPB also talks about opposing ”a world driven by financialization, shareholder value, and austerity” which ”has weakened our ability to defend the common good and placed human life in danger on a global scale. They also in a short and effective way combine all main subjects by calling for ”to dramatically reduce military spending in favor of healthcare and all social and environmental needs.”

The DCJ statement is also radical but avoids also words as imperialism and capitalism in general. Instead terms as the dominant economic system is used and years of neoliberalism is seen as a decisive factor behind the crisis both for health and other social issues as well as ecological problems. At one point the concept capitalism is used but in a limited sense: ”The powerful are taking advantage of the crisis to advance disaster capitalism and a new authoritarianism, handing themselves expanding police and military powers, and rushing through extractive projects.”

The FOEI statement use similar concepts as structures of social inequalities or current political-economical system Neoliberal doctrine, privatization, dismantling of worker’s rights and flexibilisation of the work market while increased exploitation of women’s work are accused of causing much of the problems. But also explicitly capitalism: ”The pandemic is unveiling and aggravating the brutal inequalities of capitalism between and within countries”. It also includes the maybe most elaborated ideological explanation of the corona crisis in all of the movements statements: ”COVID-19 is exposing the magnitude of the care crisis in our societies: a crisis that has developed over centuries through the failure of the patriarchal, racist, capitalist system to care for peoples, nature and territories, and its reliance on the work and bodies of women to make up for and fix the damage caused by the capitalist neocolonialist system of exploitation.”

There is also a difference regarding who is primarily addressed. LVCI and the environmental oppose transnational corporations while IPA primarily is state-centric highly critical against imperialist countries in the West. ITUC as we know by now wants cooperation with both states and corporations while the peace movement wants cooperation instead of conflict and is opposing the weapon industry. IPB add opposition to the general purpose of corporations and embrace a new version of the old demands from Tsar Russia, peace, welfare, and environment instead of peace, bread, and land from 1917 while also talking about cultural values thus going beyond political and economic demands putting pressure on corporations or the state.

The message coming from the Pope have probably the clearest view on who to address. He says technocratic paradigms (whether state-centred or market-driven) are not enough to address this crisis. Now more than ever, persons, communities and peoples must be put at the centre, united to heal, to care and to share.Here it is not primarily the state or corporations and the market who are the main actors. As he says in the last paragraph, ”Stand firm in your struggle and care for each other as brothers and sisters.

 

The languages used

Another question of interest is what languages are used. WMW has more or less all material in both English, French and Spanish as well as LVCI and FOEI use the same languages as WMW in most or all documents and the DCJ statement use these languages as well. ITUC statement is only in English. WFTU video is French with both English subtitles. WRI use English and Spanish. Standing out are the call by 479 organizations translated into English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and a language with letters unknown to undersigned. Pope Francis message to peoples movements is translated into German, English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese, IPB statements translated into English, Spanish, French, German, Swedish, Finnish, Catalan, Korean, and Japanese and finally IPA statement translated into English, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, French, Turkish, Catalan, German, Greek, Norwegian, and Italian. If all the main movements come together more there is an opportunity for a far wider use of language than normally at least for main documents and campaigns.

 

A window of opportunity is open

This coming together of international peoples movements is a window of opportunity. We know that there are many powerful actors out there willing and able to do the utmost to divide and rule. This time we should not let that happen. The family of peoples movements have thousands of year of experience behind us. If we need to move fast, we can move fast. If we need to move slow to get everyone on board, we can move slowly. As long as we keep together we can make miracles. Our opponents trying to split us apart find themselves in the predicament that when they hunt their enemy down they find themselves when in the mirror. Objectively we are weak but they are weaker if we stick together.

Tord Björk
Kristianstad 2nd of May 2020

Peoples movement COVI19 statements_Sida_1

Peoples movement COVI19 statements_Sida_2

Enclosed

Statements and articles published by main international peoples movements on COVID 19

General movements

IPA – International Peoples Assembly together with 479 organizations in total
In Light of the Global Pandemic, Focus Attention on the People

https://www.thetricontinental.org/declaration-covid19/
English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and a language with letters unknown to undersigned. With 479 endorsements from 70 countries on all continents

IPA: In time of Pandemic, lets turn the week of Anti-ipermailist struggle into a mobilization for the defense of dignified life
https://antiimperialistweek.org/en/noticias/in-times-of-pandemic-let-us-turn-the-week-of-anti-imperialist-struggle-into-a-mobilization-for-the-defense-of-dignified-life/
English, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, French, Turkish, Catalan, German, Greek, Norwegian, and Italian.

Womens Movement

World March of Women

The conflict is between capital and life. We defend life!
https://marchemondiale.org/index.php/2020/04/23/the-conflict-is-between-capital-and-life-we-defend-life/

Farmers/peasant movements

LVCI – La Via Campesina

#StayHomeButNotSilent – In times of pandemic, peasants are united to feed the people!
https://viacampesina.org/en/stayhomebutnotsilent-in-times-of-pandemic-peasants-are-united-to-feed-the-people/

COVID-19: Several members of La Via Campesina highlight the vulnerability of peasants and workers: https://viacampesina.org/en/covid-19-several-members-of-la-via-campesina-highlight-the-vulnerability-of-peasants-and-workers/
Migrant farm workers US, Confederation Paysanne, France, Union of Agricultural Work Committee (UAWC), Palestine, Serikat Petani Indonesia, Associazione Rurale Italiana (ARI), Italy, National Farmers Union, Canada, Landworkers’ Alliance, UK, Eco Ruralis, Romania, National Agrarian Confederation (CNA), Peru, MST, Brazil, National Indigenous Peasant Movement (MNC), Argentina, El Frente Nacional Campesino Ezequiel Zamora (FNCEZ), Venezuela, ANAP, Cuba,  Uniterre, Switzerland, FUGEA, Belgium, La Va Campesina South Asia.

Trade Unions

ITUC – International Trade Union Confederation

G20 COVID: Trade Unions Call for Coordinated Action for Public Health, Jobs and Incomes
https://www.ituc-csi.org/g20-covid-trade-unions-call-for?lang=en<

COVID-19 PANDEMIC: NEWS FROM UNIONS
https://www.ituc-csi.org/covid-19-responses?lang=en

ETUC – European Trade Union Confederation
ETUC Declaration on the COVID-19 Outbreak
https://www.etuc.org/en/document/etuc-declaration-covid-19-outbreak

Statement of the European Social Partners ETUC, BusinessEurope, CEEP, SMEUnited on the COVID-19 emergency
https://www.etuc.org/en/document/european-social-partners-joint-statement-covid-19

WFTU – Wold federation of Trade Unions
Statement of WFTU General Secretary on the Coronavirus Pandemic
http://www.wftucentral.org/video/statement-of-wftu-general-secretary-on-the-coronavirus-pandemic

TUED – Trade Unions for Energy Democracy: Videorecording of the TUED Global Forum on Union Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis
http://unionsforenergydemocracy.org/tued-bulletin-97/

Environmental movements

DCJ – Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice: A New Normal
https://demandclimatejustice.org/2020/04/22/covid-19/

FOEI – Friends of the Earth International
COVID-19 crisis is a wake up call for system change
https://www.foei.org/news/covid-19-coronavirus-crisis-system-change

COVID-19 measures must ensure Human Rights and build the resilient, sustainable food system we desperately need
https://www.foei.org/news/g20-letter-covid19-coronavirus-human-rights-food-systems

Peace Movements

IPB – International Peace Bureau
PETITION: Invest in Healthcare Instead of Militarization
Download the statement in English, Spanish, French, German, Swedish, Finnish, Catalan, Korean, and Japanese.
http://www.ipb.org/news/petition-invest-in-healthcare-instead-of-militarization/
IPB Statement: Call to the G20 to Invest in Healthcare Instead of Militarization
Download the statement in English, Spanish, French, German, Swedish, Finnish, Catalan, Korean and Japanese.
http://www.ipb.org/ipb-statements/ipb-statement-call-to-the-g20-to-invest-in-healthcare-instead-of-militarization/

Health Care Instead of Military Exercises
http://www.ipb.org/yesterdays-news/health-care-instead-of-military-exercises/

International network “No to war – no to NATO”

Home

WILPF – Womens International League for Peace and Freedom
COVID-19: Exposing the Fault Lines
https://www.wilpf.org/covid-19-exposing-the-fault-lines

What has COVID-19 Taught Us about Neoliberalism?
Qué nos ha enseñado el neoliberalismo?
https://www.wilpf.org/covid-19-what-has-covid-19-taught-us-about-neoliberalism/

COVID-19: Militarise or Organise?
Μιλιταρισμός ή Οργάνωση

COVID-19: Militarise or Organise?


“Waging War” Against a Virus is NOT What We Need to Be Doing

https://www.wilpf.org/covid-19-waging-war-against-a-virus-is-not-what-we-need-to-be-doing/
COVID-19: We are Not Soldiers

COVID-19: We are Not Soldiers


COVID-19: From Ceasefire to Divestment and Disarmament
https://www.wilpf.org/from-ceasefire-to-divestment-and-disarmament

Turning Swords into Ventilators? Or is it Ventilators into Swords?
https://www.wilpf.org/covid-19-turning-swords-into-ventilators-or-is-it-ventilators-into-swords

Coronavirus Capitalism versus Persistent Activism
https://www.wilpf.org/covid-19-coronavirus-capitalism-versus-persistent-activism/

The Risks of Relying on Technology to “Save Us” from the Coronavirus
https://www.wilpf.org/covid-19-the-risks-of-relying-on-technology-to-save-us-from-the-coronavirus

COVID-19: The United Nations Security Council is Doing What Exactly?
https://www.wilpf.org/covid-19-the-united-nations-security-council-is-doing-what-exactly

WILPF Sections Mobilising to Prevent Pandemic in Africa
https://www.wilpf.org/covid-19-wilpf-sections-mobilising-to-prevent-pandemic-in-africa

COVID-19: A Sustainable Ceasefire Means No More “Business as Usual”

COVID-19: A Sustainable Ceasefire Means No More “Business as Usual”

WRI – War Resisters International
WRI Executive Committee statement on the Covid-19 Crisis
https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2020/wri-executive-committee-statement-covid-19-crisis

TFF – The Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research
TFF The Corona – An opportunity to replace militarist security with common and human security. Part 1, 2 and 3
https://transnational.live/2020/04/02/the-corona-an-opportunity-to-replace-militarist-security-with-common-and-human-security-part-1/

World BEYOND War
COVID-19 and the Wasting Disease of Normalcy
https://worldbeyondwar.org/covid-19-and-the-wasting-disease-of-normalcy

Pandemics, Social Conflict And Armed Conflict: How Does COVID-19 Affect Vulnerable Populations?
https://worldbeyondwar.org/pandemics-social-conflict-and-armed-conflict-how-does-covid-19-affect-vulnerable-populations

Letter of Pope Francis: To our brothers and sisters of popular movements and organizations
http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2020/documents/papa-francesco_20200412_lettera-movimentipopolari.html
German, English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese

NGOs
* link to Women’s March Global to compare with WMW
https://womensmarchglobal.org
** Criticism of Human Rights Watch
http://www.coha.org/2008/12/taking-human-rights-watch-to-task

 

A new anti-neoliberal climate movement momentum

Via Campesina demo at WTO meeting at Cancún 2003

The united demand against carbon trading by people’s movements and by the main international climate organization is a historic step forward. Initiated by the key climate justice movements, third world antidebt, the strongest international democratic environmental and farmers organizations, a main indigenous network and US environmental justice grass movement the dominant global network for the first time (to my knowledge) joined an anti-neoliberal demand. The initial signers were Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, Friends of the Earth International, Indigenous Environmental Network, La Via Campesina, and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and among those signing is 350.org Global.

This changes everything if we hold on to this new unity. The refusal by the dominant international climate organization 350.org to challenge the main political solution put forward by corporations and Western governments to solve the climate crisis has been an obstacle. By acting together against turning nature into a commodity a sharp conflict with those in power has now become central not only to the climate justice movement but also the mainstream climate movement.

In the beginning, the mainstream climate movement also refused to demand such solutions as a just transition. Piecemeal climate policies lacking a coherent combination of what the movement is against and what it is for can now be replaced by a more convincing message. A message that goes far beyond climate policies by demanding a social change that is necessary not only to stop global warming but also stop species extinction and other global threats to a planet where we and future generations can have a rich life with other species.

To establish a global market for so-called ecosystem services is what corporations and financial capital wish for. The demand against carbon trading goes far beyond climate politics, it is at the core of challenging also the corporate agenda on the global socio-ecological crisis.

It is also a possibility to establish a political platform with all people’s movement in a common concern against turning not only nature but also commons as the public sector and in general social rights into a commodity.

The road to this momentum has been long. One can wonder why it lasted such a long time to have a clear message opposing corporate interests calling for social justice between and within countries. After all, the international climate action days in 1991-94 in 70 countries had this conflict-oriented message.

But developing politics takes time. The school striking youth all over the world has crushed the single issue climate policy lobbying and expanded the movement both in message, issues, and quantity. No longer appeals are made to world leaders to act, we are rather back to the message made by international climate action days in 1991 saying “We can’t wait for governments to act!”. The youth also address firmly the whole global environmental crisis and not only climate issues. They have also been able to fo far beyond the “frontline” concept by mobilizing everywhere.

The middle-class domination is a limitation. But when now finally Via Campesina and other third world mass movements have their anti-neoliberal demand against carbon trading accepted by mainstream climate networks, we see a very new political dynamic. With small and medium-size farmers as the strongest global driving force behind a clear anti-neoliberal climate movement, a class dynamics can gather momentum uniting rural and urban class struggles with the middle class as a less strong and yet uniting force when the alliance with corporate neoliberal concerns gets challenged.

This gives room for both international, national and local alliances able to politicize the movement compatible with broader appeals as those made by Fridays for future. But it will only be possible if the anti-neoliberal demand together with just transition including both rural and urban concerns is made central to future international action days. The days when the Climate Justice movement limited itself to lobbying UN conferences are over. Now is the time for taking new initiatives uniting all the local struggles for democracy against corporate rule.

Tord Björk
coordinator of the EU committee in Friends of the Earth Sweden and board member of Activists for peace 

Quotes from the petition against carbon trading and links:

We, the undersigned, write to demand that carbon markets are kept out of the Paris Rulebook. We say NO to a resolution on carbon markets at COP25.

International rules for carbon markets will be a key item on the negotiating table in Madrid, and under Article 6 we may see carbon markets becoming part of the Paris rulebook this year. This would lock us in to even more emissions, further temperature rise, continued fossil fuel use and decades of inaction, distraction, and corporate power-grabbing.

…Carbon markets do not work. Cap and trade schemes have failed to reduce emissions or deliver real climate action. Under carbon market schemes, global emissions have continued to rise. Intrinsic flaws and loopholes render them unworkable. Offsetting requires scientifically dubious assumptions: mixing credits from different offsetting schemes mean that carbon offsets from different sources are counted as ‘equal’. Burning carbon from fossil fuels in one part of the world cannot be ‘balanced out’ by offsetting carbon from natural land carbon cycles—that’s not how ecosystems work. …

NO to carbon markets! NO to false solutions and dangerous distractions! NO to climate colonialism! NO to corporate power and impunity! COP25: Real, equitable action now!

English and Spanish versions

https://www.ienearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Petition-No-to-carbon-markets.pdf

Swedish version

https://jordensvanner.se/pressmeddelande-gallande-cop25-hall-koldioxidmarknader-utanfor-parisavtalets-regelbok/

The history of the climate movement

The history of the climate movement is a rich history filled with drastic changes in both political content and forms of action. To many this might sound odd as the climate movement is presented as something very new and if it has older roots it is a history not about collective movement efforts but about individuals and their initiatives. The few attempts at writing a history also present a narrative of something small becoming bigger and bigger without changing the direction.

This attempt at writing a history of the climate movement is different. It uses a popular movement perspective seeing democratic collective efforts locally, nationally and internationally as the key for understanding social change so we can learn and move forward.

It is based on the oral Swedish definition of a popular movement as a collective effort over a longer period of time using different ways of working combining living as you preach and changing society at the same time. A combination often hard to achieve but can be seen as crucial during periods when a movement is growing.

It is also based in an understanding of popular movements as linked to each other. Something we can talk about a ”popular movement complex” in the way E.H. Thörnberg did the first half of the 20th century. An idea that may show us that the separation of movements at times are arbitrarily or a Western phenomena that looks very different if we look upon how a movement is organized in other parts of the world. It is also based on the study of the global history of popular movements by Jan Wiklund who today works in the same tradition as Thörnberg.

Read pdf here: climate movement history

Another time in Odessa

In the autobiography of the Russian – or Ukrainian – author Konstantin Paustovsky, there is a relation of how the city of Odessa defeated the blockade of an Allied navy in the wake of the First World War and the Russian Civil War in 1920, with exclusively peaceful methods:

YearsOfHope1968.jpg

If the weeks and months of the blockade could seem peaceful and untroubled to a part of the population, this was only because it knew nothing of what was happening outside the town. In reality, the situation was grim and the new administration had need of all its resourcefulness and self-reliance to cope with the danger to the city.

After the flight of Denikin’s main army, a force of some seventy thousand of his officers and men had been left behind and were concentrated in the various German settlements – Liebenthal, Lustdorf, Marienthal – on the outskirts of the town.

The Allies relied on them to promote an uprising in Odessa, which they on their side would then support with artillery fire from their ships.

Apart from this, there were, at a conservative estimate, some two thousand bandits, burglars, thieves, forgers, fences and the shady characters living in the suburbs of Moldavanka, Bugayevka, Slobodka-Romanovka and Inner and Outer Mills.

Their mood was uncertain. As a general rule, bandits tend to be hysterical and unstable in their attachments. No one could tell what they would do if there were an uprising.

There were very few Soviet troops in Odessa. Meanwhile and Allied squadron was already cruising offshore, having sent the Italian mine sweeper Raccia ahead on reconnaissance.

But an event took place which sharply changed the situation. The Raccia struck a mine when it was beam-on to the Great Fountain lighthouse. All we heard of it in town was the faint echo of an explosion at sea, which alarmed no one.

By order of the Provincial Committee, fishermen from Golden Shore, Great Fountain, the Kovalevsky estate and Lustdorf – all experienced and level headed men – went out in their barges, picked up the survivors and the bodies of the dead, and brought them ashore before the squadron had had time to reach the scene of the shipwreck.

The bodies of the dead were taken to Odessa, and a signal was sent to the Commander of the squadron. It informed him that the city was grieved by the disaster and wished to assume the burden of a solemn funeral for the gallant victims, and it invited him to attend the ceremony and to send sailors’ units to form a guard of honour.

The admiral agreed – there was not much else he could do.

Next morning, unarmed Soviet soldiers and sailors formed up all along the way from the post to Kulikov Field where a common grave had been dug. Mourning flags hung on all the houses, and the way was strewn with flowers and branches of thuya.

A hundred thousand Odessans – almost the entire population at that time – attended the funeral.

Dock workers carried the coffins. After them came sunburnt Italian sailors, rifles pointing down.

The bands of the foreign ships played, as well as the combined Odessa bands. Ours did not disgrace itself, and the heart-rending strains of Chopin’s Funeral March made the sensitive Odessan women wipe away the tears with their shawls.

The bells toiled mournfully from New Athos Church. The roofs were black with watching crowds.

Speeches were made at the grave. The Italians listened and presented arms. Then the distant sound of a salvo at sea mingled with that of a volley of rifle-shots on Kulikov field. A pyramid of flowers rose over the grave.

After the funeral the foreign sailors were given supper at the former Frankoni café. Comrade Agin [chief of the rationing board] dipped into the sacred food reserve for the occasion, and used up most of it.

After such a funeral, how could there be any question of bombardment or of uprising? The sailors of the foreign shops would not have stood for it. They were grateful for the honour paid their fallen comrades and for the warmth of their own reception.

The old admiral (who looked like Giuseppe Verdi) decided that the game was up and ordered the squadron back to Constantinople. It vanished into the gloom of the evening, leaving Denikin’s officers to their fate.

By allowing armed foreign sailors into the town, the provincial Committee had taken a huge risk, but it was an honourable one, and the funeral proved a bloodless victory over the Interventionists.

Soon afterwards, the blockade was lifted, and the first barge loads of apricots sailed into the port from Kherson.

Then, on a cloudless morning, two Turkish feluccas from Skutari, colorful as a picture, tied in at the Quarantine Pier – they were the first cargo ships to reach Odessa.

Next day the papers announced triumphantly that two feluccas had advised from Turkey with a kilo of flints for cigarette lighters, glass beads, gilt bracelets, and a small barrel of olives.

What mattered, of course, was not the kilo of flints, but the fact that the sea was free again. This seemed to me suddenly to alter its appearance: gay under a gusty wind, it shone with such snow-white spray as I had never seen on it before.

Any day now, we would see, in the blue distance to the southwest, the mighty hulls and yellow funnels and strange flags of ocean-going craft, and would hear whistles and rumbling anchor-chains – a sound which promised those who sailed the seas a well-earned rest in a beautiful though foreign land.

Konstantin Paustovsky: Years of hope, 1968

Sweden discusses the Integrity Initiative and other McCarthyist campaigns

Campaigns carried out against Russian desinformation in Western Europe have received raised concerns lately. They have been accused of smearing the peace movement and opposition to NATO under the pretext of fighting fake news using at times McCarthy methods. These campaigns are carried out by domestic and international forces, by secret or open formal and informal networks or simply by ready-made propaganda disseminated by several sources. NATO and EU, separately or together, the Atlantic Council and several other international initiatives as well as domestic bodies close to government or corporate agencies, have established institutions with many formal and informal links between each other with that purpose. Lately, the semi-secret British Integrity Initiative has received much attention.

In Sweden, this discussion has got a twist of its own, different from other countries and even different from Norway which is a country with an otherwise quite similar political culture. It has also lately won a great deal of interest in two of the biggest dailies of the country followed by sharp controversy in more of main stream media. A discussion fomented during two months especially by the peace movement and members of the Green Party.

It began in late January, when the news section of Aftonbladet, the biggest newspaper, took up the false claims of the Atlantic Council report Kremlin’s Trojan Horses 3.0. The report claimed that the firing of a Green Party senior foreign policy expert was due to frequent contacts with the Russian embassy. The news about the false accusation in the report were soon published by Expressen, Aftonbladet’s closest competitor. 

The alarming accusations had not been approved by the Swedish Security Police and has since long been debunked by mass media. The author, Henrik Sundbom, a fellow of an NGO sponsored by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise allowed himself to anyway to use the false information. It was strongly criticized by people in the environmental and peace movement together with several other attempts at defaming the environmental and peace movement. One example given by Sundbom to prove his case that those he accused was pro-Russian in their views was an article in a Swedish environmental magazine that explicitly stated that what happened on Crimea was a break of international law. In the twisted mind this was turned into the opposite in the Atlantic Council report. But the criticism was also directed against the Green leadership for its compliant behavior; however it declared the issue a matter of staff policy and thus of private, non-public nature. The McCarthy kind of blacklisting in practice could so far have its way. 

In 2017 a similar criticism of the peace movement for being interlocutors of the Russian narrative had been put forward by Martin Kragh in an article written together with Sebastian Ågren, both associated to the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, published in the British magazine Journal of Strategic Studies. The article was strongly rejected by several people – see a hundred links at https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/swedish-disinformation-research-controversy-links/ – who saw it as a McCarthyist campaign. He was defended by his colleagues at the Uppsala university but not by other academicians. Also Henrik Sundbom is associated to Swedish Institute for International Affairs and has cooperated closely with Martin Kragh publishing a report together in 2018. 

Martin Kragh’s name appeared in the hacked material from the Integrity Initiative documents as a cluster leader for the Nordic countries This was brought up by some bloggers and a newspaper. As in 2017 Kragh did not respond to allegations or criticism except when bigger media made it necessary. This was the case a few hours before the criticism against his colleague Henrik Sundbom would go into print which there is reason to believe he knew. Then Martin Kragh stated on twitter that he had declined the offer from Integrity Initiative in 2016 of being Scandinavian ”cluster leader”. However, material to the article in Journal of Strategic Studies was, according to Kragh himself on the Swedish Radio in 2017, gathered by an anonymous group of ”journalists, researchers and others” during ”a long period”. Who belonged or belong to this group remains unknown. The material was also used for a sensational attack on Kremlin bootlickers in Expressen as if an information war against the peace movement was of acute necessity. 

The following week a sharp quarrel burst out between the culture editors of Aftonbladet and Expressen. Åsa Linderborg at Aftonbladet questioned the role of Martin Kragh, head of the Russian program studies at Uppsala University, and asked for an inquiry into his role as alleged ”cluster leader” for the Integrity Initiative in the Nordic countries. The same day, Aftonbladet published a long feature article raising concerns regarding the biggest morning newspaper Dagens Nyheter’s publishing of a character assassination of a Russian oppositional journalist. He had attended a course in journalism in Sweden which was by the newspaper used to falsely present him as a Kreml agent.

The following day, Aftonbladet’s article was criticized by Expressen, owned by the same publishing house as Dagens Nyheter. The call for inquiring the role of Kragh was called ”disgusting”, another journalist that brought up the issue himself was accused as an ”impostor” and the article about character assassination was denigrated because one of the journalists behind it is has a father accused of being an antisemite. Thus, Expressen was able to bring together several different discussions usually kept apart. This hopefully should make ti possible to address character assassination as a method used by Kragh, Integrity Initiative and Dagens Nyheter alike.  Only the Atlantic Council was kept out of the picture.  

The week that followed in the middle of February saw even more main stream media attention. The conservative morning daily Svenska Dagbladet used all it had, guest editorial, cultural editorial, 9 professors in a letter to the editor, a feature article and finally an editorial, all giving the same view that what was going on was a Russian desinformation campaign against Martin Kragh started already in 2017. Swedish Radio and other newspapers followed suit. A Center party paper set the record with an editorial with 28000 characters describing in detail with names on persons and organization anyone that was involved in the claimed Russian desinformation campaign against Martin Kragh. What the article lacked was Russian sources except the liberal Nova Gazeta. The 150 other articles or so addressing the quality of Kraghs article and his role were Swedish apart from some positive in English the Guardian and similar publications.

The attempts to put all the attention on an alleged Russian desinformation campaign against Martin Kragh will not work. The Atlantic Council will also continue to be of interest, despite attempts to keep it out of the picture, as it is a relevant case highlighting the personal consequences of the McCarthyist campaigns. Furthermore, the allegations against so many in the peace movement for not having its own voice and only being the mouthpiece for Russia, has brought new people and organisations together that never cooperated before. None of these organizations have an influential newspaper or access to mainstream media. But all are used to work under such a condition and are thus resilient against the attempts to silence their voice. The struggle to defend themselves against the repressive Swedish think tanks and main stream media needs to be combined with forward looking demands for peace. Sweden might still bring some surprises to the debate concerning accusations against the peace movements and the Russian desinformation industry with all its interwoven and well funded projects pretending to protect democracy while sometimes doing the opposite. 

Different contributors to the discussion

In most other countries, the discussion has reached a stalemate. Thus it is of interest what happens in Sweden. The discussion in Sweden concerning both the Integrity Initiative and the Atlantic Council is presented at https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2019/01/05/integrity-initiative-and-the-connection-to-sweden-and-atlantic-council and https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2019/01/05/swedish-responses-to-integrity-initiative-and-atlantic-council. Also Norway has had a trajectory very different from other countries. It is presented at https://steigan.no/2019/01/hos-integrity-initiative-and-atlantic-council-is-exposed-in-norway/

The pattern of contributors in Sweden is very different from the patterns elsewhere. While in most countries those addressing the Integrity Initiative issue belong to the opposition to Western military intervention in Syria and other countries, and are generally leftwing, the critical actors in Sweden have a much broader base. There is also a stronger attempt of linking the Integrity Initiative to similar actors like the Atlantic Council or EU Disinfo and to domestic actors like the Swedish Institute for International Affairs and mainstream media. Who is not the only important matter rather what, how, when and why.

One contribution stands out as it was published in a Social Democratic trade unionist national webmag and is signed by seven people with a background in Friends of the Earth, Activists for Peace, the Green Party, and the Social Democrat party. This kind of collective initiative is not seen in any other country.

The main actor to adress the Integrity Initiative until the quarrel in main stream media started is the peace movement contributing 13 out of 75 responses so far. Also the anti austerity blog Gemensam has published a critical comment. There are also three contributions by present or former Green Party members. Together this makes up 17 contributions.

One contributor is the anti-imperialist blogger Anders Romelsjö with 7 texts. There is also an article at Synapze, a leftwing net magazine. This is a group that usually dominates the debate in other countries. The rest of contributions from the left is a trotskyist weekly, Internationalen, contributing two articles. This newspaper has an Anti Assad view on Syria in sharp contrast to to Romelsjö. Two other left wing bloggers addressed the issue from complete different points of view one being critical towards In total that makes 12 contributions by the left. 

Another category are media watch dogs. One of the most appreciated is Mediespanarna, a podcast by two academicians in Umeå that analyzed the new information concerning Integrity Initiative in December. The facebook group Källkritik, fake news and desinformation have posted 7 times commented articles about Integrity Initiative and Atlantic Council. Comments are made of several key actors as the author of the Atlantic Council report and the head of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). This makes 8 contributions in this category. 

A fourth category is right wing net magazines and bloggers. The first to publish the name of the former foreign policy expert employed by the Greens and falsely alleged Russian security risk was Rebecca Weidmo Uwell. She defended him against the accusations and Atlantic Council. In another right wing net magazine Egor Putilov accused the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) for preparing a crack down on freedom of speech in five articles while also questioning the role of Martin Kragh and Integrity Initiative in two of them. One more right wing net magazine has addressed one part of the growing debate. In total this makes 7 right wing contributors all addressing fairly narrow issues. 

Finally the mainstream press. A regional Centerparty paper was the first main stream media to address the issue. They published a letter to the editor highly critical both of Atlantic Council and the Integrity Initiative on 21st of December. It would take a long time until bigger dailies started to write. But then it came, and it came quite a lot. It started on 29th of January  in the news section in Aftonbladet, the biggest Swedish daily. Here the focus was upon false claims in the Atlantic Council concerning the Greens. This was followed up in the news section in Expressen, the main competitor. This was followed in Aftonbladet by 3 more stories on the same subject.

The last news article on the Greens and Atlantic Council was published 7th of February the same day as two more articles on Western biased character assassination was published by the cultural section of Aftonbladet as stated above. In one article the whole picture was presented from Atlantic Council to Integrity Initiative and possible Swedish connections. In another the biggest Swedish morning newspaper was criticized for character assassination of a Russian journalist critical towards corruption in his country but presented as a Russian agent while participating in an education for journalism in Sweden. Next day an angry reaction was published in the cultural section of Expressen accusing he competitor of using journalists linked to Julian Assange and that one had a father accused of being an antisemitic. That the role of alleged Integrity Initiative cluster leader in Sweden Martin Kragh was brought to attention was called disgusting. This was followed by 10 more articles in Swedish main stream media debunking the criticism against Kragh and 2 defending the criticism. 

An article signed by 10 peace and environmental activists was refused not only by all main stream papers including Aftonbladet opinion section but also ETC, the biggest left wing weekly who together with 5 other red and green weeklies have kept quite throughout the three month debate. It can be added that Aftonbladet has strong internal differences. While the cultural section has been opposed to blaming the peace movement for acting in the interest of Russia, the news section more often than not carry news strongly biased against Russia, the opinion section open to debate have similar bias in this case and the editorial section is also strongly opposing Russia. 

In general no qualified dialogue has taken place in Sweden during the long debate. For two months no reaction came against the 4 articles in printed press nor the many on different blogs. Only when Aftonbladet Kultur brought the issue to the public there was what best could be described as an outcry. Expressen allowed short 1500 character reactions to the criticism an article by the cultural editor while the other newspapers refused to publish any answers on their articles. 

Oddly or maybe tellingly, the only country were there was a chance for a qualified debate about what happened in Sweden, was in Russia. Here a longer article by Aleksej Sachnin and Johannes Wahlström both living in Sweden was published in the liberal newspaper Nova Gazeta. It was commented by senior public service journalist Stig Fredriksson in an article using 3500 characters which gives enough space for saying something substantial. 

Thus the kind of qualified debate necessary for a vital democracy cannot anymore be carried out in Sweden on equal terms in main stream media. It has to use liberal Russian massmedia to be able to keep democracy in Sweden vital. 

In general the Swedish debate also differs in the way that much is based on empirical sources bringing up new issues or bringing new light to themes already discussed. There is less articles writing about the same details in similar manner. The few cases when republishing articles is not included in the statistics. Russian media is also almost totally absent from references. Instead, the original leaked sources is often used. There is no Russian media in the Swedish language and thus it is also not helpful for reaching the Swedish public. If Russian media is used for publicizing articles the choice is Nova Gazette in opposition to the government and not RT or Sputnik.

Contrary to Norway were main stream media early on asked people and political parties about both Atlantic Council and Integrity Initiative this did not happen in Sweden until the peace movement, Green bloggers and left wingers had addressed the issue during two months. Also contrary to Norway the accused political parties in the Atlantic Council report have refused to defend themselves. No other organization to the left, center or right reacted either. The only organization that made statements was Activists for peace. 

Thus in Sweden the movement had neither the support of political parties or the massmedia. In this way the movement is not in the hands of intermediaries in political parties or journalists in the mass media. A dynamic has emerged concerning the overlapping McCarthyis campaigns against the peace movement including both black listing and character assassination against targeted persons as well as a general stamp on the peace movement for working in the interest of Kreml. If it is enough for changing the power of balance between the peace movement and our opponents that have had a strong hegemony since several years is still to be seen. At the moment main stream media seems overwhelmingly occupied by defending the claims made by Kragh and defame his critics. More than in any other country Integrity Initiative have achieved attention in Swedish main stream media. Seemingly the peace movement has been marginalized further. 

In his latest contribution to the debate Martin Kragh stated:

”The operation that I have been exposed to started in Russian media, which claimed that I work for a strange organization with links to the British intelligence service. Everything is false.

But the claims spread further in Sweden, especially by right-wing and left-wing extremist groups, and a bit in social media. In the end, they were picked up by Aftonbladet which made a great deal of it. There you have an example of the entire spectrum of who participates.”

In spite of that one can have some hope that the peace movement can turn this debate among the broader public into questioning of smearing opponents to war there are great obstacle ahead.  The overwhelming part of mainstream media is liberal and will probably try hard to marginalize the criticism, and so will also many established groups in society.  They do anything to defame the peace movement as not only in the hands of Moscow but also a the core being aligned with right-wing and left-wing extremist groups when defending itself and others against the claims made by Kragh. 

Summary concerning Swedish contribution to the discussion

• From peace, environmental, and anti-austerity movements, and the Greens: 22,5 %

• From mainstream media: 30,5 %

• From opposing parts of the left: 15,5 %

• From media watchdogs: 11 %

• From Rightwing media: 9%

• From foreign media: 6.5 %

• From NGO and desinformation experts: 5 %

Articles and one podcasts in chronological order

Mathias Cederholm, administrator fbgroup Källkritik,  25 november 2018,
https://www.facebook.com/groups/kallkritik/permalink/479125882611623/

Umer Ramshaid, 27 November 2018, UK’s Integrity Initiative Revelation May Lead To Improvement Of Russia-EU Relations – NGO
https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/uks-integrity-initiative-revelation-may-lead-490074.html

Marcello Ferrada de Noli, 27 November 2018, How UK’s Integrity [disinformation] Initiative backfires?
http://theindicter.com/how-uks-integrity-disinformation-initiative-backfires/

Romelsjö, Anders, 2 December 2019,  Sverige deltar i Storbritanniens hemliga program för att svartmåla Ryssland. Vilka svenskar? (Translation to English: Sweden participates in the UK’s secret program to scandalize Russia. Which Swedes?)
https://www.globalpolitics.se/sverige-deltar-i-storbritanniens-hemliga-mediaprogram-for-att-svartmala-ryssland/

Romelsjö, Anders, 3 December 2019,  Desinformation av rysk desinformation av Martin Kragh, samordnare i Integrity Initiative (Translation to English: Disinformation of Russian disinformation by Martin Kragh, coordinator in the Integrity Initiative)
https://www.globalpolitics.se/desinformation-av-rysk-desinformation-av-martin-kragh-samordnare-i-integrity-initiative/

Romelsjö, Anders, 9 December 2019,  Mäktigaste Nato-siten Atlantic Council uppmärksammar mig och min blogg. Smickrande? (Translation to English: The most powerful NATO site Atlantic Council pay attention to me and my blog. Flattering?)
https://www.globalpolitics.se/maktigaste-nato-siten-atlantic-council-uppmarksammar-mig-och-min-blogg-smickrande/

Mathias Cederholm, administrator fbgroup Källkritik,  10 december 2018
https://www.facebook.com/groups/kallkritik/permalink/487052878485590/

Erik Linden and Jesper Enbom, 13 December 2019, Mediespanarna #360. Trollkvarnen
https://www.blogg.umu.se/mediespanarna/2018/12/13/360-trollkvarnen

Mathias Cederholm, administrator fbgroup Källkritik, 15 december 2018.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/kallkritik/permalink/490051628185715/

Wåhlberg, Hans, 16 December 2018,  NATOS:s trojanska hästar (Translation to English: NATO’s Trojan Horses), Hans lilla gröna blog
https://hanslillagrona.blogspot.com/2018/12/natoss-trojanska-hastar.html

Lundström, Emma, 21 December 2018, Brittisk trollkvarn med svensk anknytning (Translation to English: British Troll Farm with Swedish connections), Internationalen,
http://www.internationalen.se/2018/12/brittisk-trollkvarn-med-svensk-anknytning/

Meurling, Carl, 21 December 2018,  Sveriges Rysslandspolitik styrs utifrån (Translation to English: Sweden’s Russian policy is controlled from outside the country), Skånska Dagbladet Opinion
https://www.skd.se/2018/12/21/sveriges-rysslandspolitik-styrs-utifran/

Aktivister för fred, 27 December 2018, The purpose of the Integrity Initiative and what it does – We are all in an ongoing war according to Chris Donnelly, founder and director of The Institute for Statecraft and former NATO advisor
https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2018/12/27/the-purpose-of-the-integrity-initiative-and-what-it-does-we-are-all-in-an-ongoing-war-according-to-chris-donnelly-founder-and-director-of-the-institute-for-statecraft-and-former-nato-advisor/

Jan Wiklund, 1 January 2019, Agentvärlden är alltid lika sjuk
https://gemensam.wordpress.com/2019/01/01/agentvarlden-ar-alltid-lika-sjuk/

Pål Steigan, 5 January 2019, Atlanterhavskomiteen er SVÆRT sparsomme med sannheten (including Swedish connections)
https://steigan.no/2019/01/atlanterhavskomiteen-er-svaert-sparsomme-med-sannheten/

Aktivister för fred, 5 January 2019, Integrity Initiative and the connection to Sweden and Atlantic Council
https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2019/01/05/integrity-initiative-and-the-connection-to-sweden-and-atlantic-council/

Aktivister för fred, 5 January 2019, Swedish responses to Integrity Initiative and Atlantic Council
https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2019/01/05/swedish-responses-to-integrity-initiative-and-atlantic-council/

Aktivister för fred, 6 January 2019, Integrity Initiative links from around 40 countries and some Atlantic Council links – Content
https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/integrity-initiative-links-from-36-countries-and-some-atlantic-council-links/

https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/integrity-initiative-links-from-36-countries-and-some-atlantic-council-links-part-1-of-4/

https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/integrity-initiative-links-from-26-countries-and-some-atlantic-council-links-part-2-of-4-selected-and-uk-integrity-initiative-links/

https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/integrity-initiative-links-from-36-countries-and-some-atlantic-council-links-part-3-of-4-integrity-initiative-links-sorted-by-countries/

https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/integrity-initiative-links-from-26-countries-and-some-atlantic-council-links-part-4-of-4-atlantic-council-kremlins-trojan-horses-projects/

Aktivister för fred,  6 January 2019, Swedish Disinformation research controversy – links
https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/swedish-disinformation-research-controversy-links/

Lars Drake, 6 January 2019, Nya exempel på misslyckad antirysk propaganda
http://www.synapze.se/?link=article&key=17014

Mathias Cederholm, administrator fbgroup Källkritik, 7 January 2019, Den tidigare läckan från det UK-baserade nätverket/tankesmedjan Integrity Initiative (och bakomliggande Institute for Statecraft), fylldes på med ytterligare dokument häromdagen,
https://www.facebook.com/groups/kallkritik/permalink/502722096918668/

Press info 8 januari 2019: Brittisk och amerikansk påverkan skadar demokratin
https://aktivisterforfred.wordpress.com/2019/01/08/pressmeddelande-8-januari-2019-brittisk-och-amerikansk-paverkan-skadar-demokratin/

Bo Sundbäck, Eddie Olsson, Ellie Cijvat,Tord Björk, Hans Wåhlberg, Hans Sternlycke, Per Gahrton, 10 January 2019, Rena McCarthykampanjen mot MP och fredsrörelsen
http://www.dagensarena.se/opinion/rena-maccarthykampanjen-mot-mp-och-fredsrorelsen/

Tord Björk, 12 January 2019, How Integrity Initiative and Atlantic Council is exposed in Norway
https://steigan.no/2019/01/how-integrity-initiative-and-atlantic-council-is-exposed-in-norway/

Pål Steigan, 13 January 2019, Integrity Initiative, klynger mot demokratiet (del 4)
https://steigan.no/2019/01/integrity-initiative-klynger-mot-demokratiet-del-4/

Lundström, Emma, 18 January 2019, Skrämselpropagandan från Natos trojanska hästar
http://www.internationalen.se/2019/01/skramselpropagandan-fran-natos-trojanska-hastar/

Romelsjö, Anders, 23 January, 2019,  USA undersöker rysk inblandning i EU
https://www.globalpolitics.se/usa-undersoker-rysk-inblandning-i-eu/

Egor Putilov, 24 January 2019, MSBs interna mejl avslöjar: myndigheten förbereder antidemokratisk kupp
https://samnytt.se/msbs-interna-mejl-avslojar-myndigheten-forbereder-antidemokratisk-kupp/

Egor Putilov, 24 January 2019, Demokratins dödgrävare

https://samnytt.se/demokratins-dodgravare/

Egor Putilov, 25 January 2019, AVSLÖJAR: TV4 rådgör med MSB om ”förhållningssätt” i sin rapportering
https://samnytt.se/avslojar-tv4-radgor-med-msb-om-forhallningssatt-i-sin-rapportering/

Rebecca Weidmo Uwell, 25 January 2019, Var är Stålhammar?
https://uvell.se/2019/01/25/var-ar-stalhammar/

Birger Schlaug, 26 January 2019, Den som anklagade ledande miljöpartister för att gå ryska ärenden tillbaka i riksdagen
https://schlaug.blogspot.com/2019/01/den-som-anklagade-ledande.html

Activists for Peace, 27 January 2019, Lithuanian repression of protesters against Holocaust denial
https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2019/01/27/lithuanian-repression-of-protesters-against-holocaust-denial/

Egor Putilov, 28 January 2019, MSB vill få tillgång till avlyssning – ska ”identifiera påverkanskampanjer”
https://samnytt.se/msb-vill-fa-tillgang-till-avlyssning-ska-identifiera-paverkanskampanjer/

Martin Kragh, 28 January 2019, Twitter: Jag tackade 2016 alltså nej…
https://twitter.com/MartinKragh1/status/1089974706005032962

Mathias Cederholm, 29 January 2019, FB: Samhällsnytt (f.d. Avpixlat) is a problematic source…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/kallkritik/permalink/513804139143797/

Aktivister för fred, 29 January 2019, Stoppa USA-inspirerade yrkesförbud i Sverige
https://aktivisterforfred.wordpress.com/2019/01/29/stoppa-usa-inspirerade-yrkesforbud-i-sverige/

Olof Svensson, 29 January 2019, Sparkade MP-mannen utpekad på nytt: ”Hade kontakter med ryssar”
https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/samhalle/a/rLxg0R/sparkade-mp-mannen-utpekad-pa-nytt-hade-kontakter-med-ryssar

Per Lidholm and Filippa Rogvall, 29 January 2019, MP-mannen träder fram: ”Häxprocess”
https://www.expressen.se/nyheter/pekar-ut-mp-man-for-rysskontakter-igen/

Olof Svensson, 31 January 2019, Förra språkrörets kritik: ”Passiv tumrullning
https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/samhalle/a/Kv56Po/forra-sprakrorets-kritik-passiv-tumrullning

Pierre Ringborg, 2 February 2019, Riksdagens mäktigaste politiker heter Pernilla Stålhammar och är huvudkällan i en rapport om Kreml:s trojanska hästar!
https://pierreringborg.blogspot.com/2019/02/riksdagens-maktigaste-politiker-heter.html

Olof Svensson, 3 February 2019, Nu räcker det med dumheter, Fridolin
https://www.aftonbladet.se/debatt/a/VRA5GV/nu-racker-det-med-dumheter-fridolin

Aleksej Sachnin and Johannes Wahlström, 5 February 2019, «Вас заставят поменять свое мнение»
https://www.novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/02/05/79440-vas-zastavyat-pomenyat-svoe-mnenie

Stig Fredriksson, 5 February 2019, Обвинения Мартина Крага — это клевета
https://www.novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/02/05/79440-vas-zastavyat-pomenyat-svoe-mnenie

Europa Terra Nostra, 5 February 2019, Desinformations-Netzwerk „Integrity Initiative“: Speerspitze im Propagandakrieg gegen Rußland
https://europa-terra-nostra.com/?p=2834

Olof Svensson, 7 February 2019, MP-toppens kritik: Tjänstemannen har behandlats mycket illa
https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/samhalle/a/wElXGM/mp-toppens-kritik-tjanstemannen-har-behandlats-mycket-illa

Mattias Göransson and Johannes Wahlström, 7 February 2019, Spionfabriken på Marieberg
https://spionfabriken.story.aftonbladet.se

Åsa Linderborg, 7 February 2019, Svenska medier måste hålla rent framför egen dörr
https://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/a/G1W8Jq/svenska-medier-maste-halla-rent-framfor-egen-dorr

Karin Olsson, 8 February 2019, Aftonbladet ägnar sig åt ren smutskastning
https://www.expressen.se/kultur/aftonbladet-agnar-sig-at-ren-smutskastning

Chang Frick, 8 February 2019, Expressens Karin Olsson rasar mot uppgifter som kan fälla Peter Wolodarski i rätten
https://nyheteridag.se/expressens-karin-olsson-rasar-mot-uppgifter-som-kan-falla-peter-wolodarski-i-ratten/

Johannes Wahlström, 12 February 2019, ”Olssons text ett klassiskt hafsverk”
https://www.expressen.se/kultur/olssons-text-ett-klassiskt-hafsverk

Patrick Oksanen, 12 February 2019,  Cyberstölden, förtalskampanjen och kulturchefen som tappar fattningen
https://www.helahalsingland.se/artikel/ledare-centerpartistisk/oksanen-cyberstolden-fortalskampanjen-och-kulturchefen-som-tappar-fattningen

Hans Wåhlberg, 13 February 2019, Patrik Oksanen – en redaktör som tappat fattningen?
https://hanslillagrona.blogspot.com/2019/02/patrik-oksanen-en-redaktor-som-tappat.html

Aleksej Sachnin, 13 February 2019, Karin Olsson är som en bot som hostar upp sörja
https://www.expressen.se/kultur/karin-olsson-ar-som-en-bot-som-hostar-upp-sorja/

Claes Arvidsson, 13 February 2019. De som tar rösten från Kreml vidare som sin egen
https://www.svd.se/de-som-tar-rosten-fran-kreml-vidare-som-sin-egen

Christer Ahlström, 14 February 2019, Angående uppgifter i Aftonbladet
https://www.ui.se/aktuellt/2019/angaende-uppgifter-i-aftonbladet/

Paul T. Levin, Torbjörn Becker, Li Bennich-Björkman, Dag Blanck, Stefan Hedlund, Matthew Kott, Claes Levinsson, Örjan Sjöberg and Erik Åsard, 14 February 2019, ”Vi står bakom Kragh – ta ryska hotet på allvar”
https://www.svd.se/vi-star-bakom-kragh–ta-ryska-hotet-pa-allvar

Lisa Irenius, 14 February 2019, Linderborgs allvarliga anklagelse vilar på mycket svag grund
https://www.svd.se/linderborgs-allvarliga-anklagelse-vilar-pa-en-mycket-svag-grund

Lisa Irenius, 14 February 2019, Den typ av anklagelser som nu riktas mot @MartinKragh1 kan leda till att forskare och journalister inte ens vågar närma sig ett så laddat ämne som Ryssland.
https://twitter.com/lisairenius/status/1096049761596133376

Ulrika Knutson, 14 February 2019,  Ointresset för Ryssland blir en ond cirkel
https://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=438&artikel=7155557

Fokus Editorial, 15 February 2019, Ryssligt tjafs
https://www.fokus.se/2019/02/ryssligt-tjafs

Anders Romelsjö, 15 February 2019, Cyberstölden, förtalskampanjen och Oksanen som tappar fattningen
https://www.globalpolitics.se/cyberstolden-fortalskampanjen-och-oksanen-som-tappar-fattningen/

Tobias Ljungvall, 15 February 2019, Fler bör ta sig i kragen
https://iost.nu/blogg/tobias-ljungvall/fler-bor-ta-sig-i-kragen/

Lars Drake, 15 February 2019,  Patrik Oksanen – en ny Don Quijote
http://www.synapze.se/?link=article&key=17106

Anders Romelsjö, 15 February 2019, Forskare som backar upp kritiserade Martin Kragh – vanhedrar de kanske seriös forskning?
https://www.globalpolitics.se/forskare-som-backar-kragh-vanhedrar-de-kanske-serios-forskning/

Mathias Ståhle, 16 February 2019, Så blev svenska medier del i ryskt informationskrig
https://www.svd.se/sa-blev-svenska-medier-en-del-i-ryskt-informationskrig

Anders Romelsjö, 16 February 2019, Mer hård kritik av Martin Kraghs “Rysslands-arbete”
https://www.globalpolitics.se/mer-hard-kritik-av-martin-kraghs-rysslands-arbete/

Tobias Hübinette, 16 February 2019, Delar av den svenska vänstern gör alltmer gemensam sak med delar av den svenska högerpopulismen och extremhögern vad gäller att stödja och sympatisera med Putins Ryssland
https://tobiashubinette.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/vanstern-extremhogern-ryssland-vladimir-putin/

Olof Ehrenkrona, 17 February 2019, Aftonbladet krattar manegen för Kreml
https://www.svd.se/aftonbladet-krattar-manegen-for-kreml

Åsa Linderborg, 21 February 2019, Martin Kragh är ett demokratiskt problem
https://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/a/0E1nm6/martin-kragh-ar-ett-demokratiskt-problem

Håkan Rhombe, 21 February 2019, Penningtvätten
http://blogg.vk.se/hakan-rombe-pensionar-storuman/2019/02/21/penningtvatten/

Egor Putilov, 22 February 2019, Om fascister
https://samnytt.se/om-fascister/

Karin Olsson, 23 February 2019, Linderborgs lögner om Kragh slår alla rekord
https://www.expressen.se/kultur/karin-olsson/linderborgs-logner-om-kragh-slar-alla-rekord/

Martin Kragh, 24 February 2019, Något om Aftonbladets ryska desinformationskampanj
https://www.martinkragh.com/martin-kragh-blog/2019/2/24/ngot-om-aftonbladet

Martin Kragh, 24 February 2019, En strategi i Aftonbladets ryska desinfo-kampanj är att sprida så många olika påhopp på mig som möjligt, för att så tvivel om mig som person och forskare. Här bemöter jag några lögner, och berättar om de ryska högerextremister som backar AB.
https://twitter.com/MartinKragh1/status/1099808700892696576

Linda Nordlund, 27 february 2019, Martin Kragh: ”Målet är att få mig att sluta forska”
https://www.expressen.se/ledare/ledarsnack/martin-kragh-malet-ar-att-fa-mig-att-sluta-forska

Knut Lindelöf, 27 February 2019, Många ord om mycket lite
https://www.lindelof.nu/manga-ord-om-mycket-lite

Tom Andersson, 27 February 2019, Ovetenskaplig forskning bakom mediekriget
https://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/a/5V5plX/ovetenskaplig-forskning-bakom-mediekriget

Double Genocide: New and Official Form of Holocaust Denial

By Dovid Katz
from the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents
With permission from the author

AMERICA WAS JOLTED this past summer not only by a neo-Nazi event in Charlottesville, Virginia that left an anti-Nazi protester dead by vehicular homicide, but by President Trump’s “blame on both sides” line, which created in America a microcosm of a debate that has been raging for some years in Eastern Europe among historians of World War II and the Holocaust and several Eastern European governments.

dovid_katz

Dovid Katz

The entire Charlottesville debate was over a bogus moral equivalence that Trump drew between American neo-Nazi demonstrators and those who turned out to oppose them. The larger context was about whether those who who fought for slavery and secession in the Civil War are “the same” as those who fought against slavery and for the Union.

Magnify that all a hundred-fold to begin to comprehend what is a major intellectual and political push to contextualize the actual Nazi genocide, the Holocaust, within the Hitlerist “freedom fight” against Soviet Communist domination in Eastern Europe.

Such are our times, in which well-presented postmodernist slop can stultify elementary clarity of thought. In the various cases at hand, different versions of the same bogus moral equivalence strategy of argumentation are used, at a minimum, to make prosaic and palatable that which is inherently beyond the pale, such as state-sponsored public square adulation for those who collaborated in genocide in Eastern Europe (or, indeed, in slavery). Bogus moral equivalence is having a profound and demonstrable effect upon evolving 21st-century perceptions of the Holocaust.

IN NO OTHER GENOCIDE did a mighty state put its government’s resources to work to murder every child, woman, and man of a designated ethnic group, far from its own borders, with no “baptismal” (or other recanting) option for a victim to be spared, and with zero provocation from the victims beyond their being living humans of the group slated for extermination. I had thought, growing up in New York City, that I understood this. But it is only now, after more than a quarter-century of traversing Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine, and meeting the last Yiddish speaker in hundreds upon hundreds of towns, that I have comprehended the Holocaust as a genocide that wiped out an entire living people on its own native territory.

Among my goals has been to catch the tiny number of survivors before they, like all of us, go the way of the world, in the hope of recording their town’s specific Yiddish language, folklore and memories as best as one can from a last, lone survivor. But as I have learned about some of the delightfully exotic local elements of Yiddish from these people, I have learned from them also about the experience of losing all of one’s family, friends, teachers, environments, and cultural and religious universe — in many cases, every single close person of one’s youth — to genocide. I have also learned, in the Baltics and Ukraine, about mass betrayal by neighbors, including many with education and proper prewar careers, with whom Jews had previously lived in peace and harmony.

At the heart of the debate lurks one of the most primal human predispositions, evident in the defenses against all alleged wrongs perpetrated against another, at the personal psychological level and up through the spheres of social, political, societal and international affairs: “But look at what they did to me!” From the kindergarten child explaining a lashing out against a peer to august nations attempting to explain away some alleged misdeed against a minority by recasting it as mere reaction to a nasty provocation, one of the most primary human defenses is the claim of some kind or other of equivalence that is supposed to mitigate or even fully countermand the alleged misdeed, all the more so when the supposed provocation came first. I have heard it countless times in the Baltics: “Look, the Jews were all communists, and the Soviets occupied us before the Nazis invaded!” By this logic, the locals who often initiated carnage against Jews were involved in self-defense.

Never mind that the vast majority of their victims were traditionally religious neighbors, no more involved in Communism than a khosid in Brooklyn would be today.

THE HOLOCAUST REMAINS a daunting obstacle for the most diverse of antisemites (there is much diversity in evil as in good), for it illustrates starkly what antisemitism (or other genres of racism and bigotry) brings to the world — a mind-numbing, largely incomprehensible criminality. That the prime initiators of that worst genocide in human history were highly sophisticated, highly educated folks from a major European nation brings a fright, a diminution of optimism that education and higher culture are somehow reliable brands of insurance against mass atrocity. It is no surprise, therefore, that Holocaust Denial emerged in the second half of the 20th century. Antisemitism could have no meaningful future in mainstream society if the Holocaust really happened.

That project was defeated, however, by massive projects to document the Holocaust empirically, including large-scale recordings of eyewitnesses’, survivors’, and perpetrators’ testimony — as well as Germany’s achievements in forthrightness, and such public spectacles as the trial of David Irving’s libel claims against Deborah Lipstadt. That trial culminated in the London High Court’s Justice Charles Gray’s ruling in the Spring of 2000, not only on the libel case at hand, but on the Holocaust’s historicity per se, making way for a millennially symbolic change of periods. It was a kind of death knell for Holocaust Denial in the Western mainstream.

There has been some backtracking in the early years of our current century, due in part to the rise of the Internet and the potential it presents for well-presented false information (“fake news”) to influence many. Still, the Internet’s revival of peripheral Holocaust Denial, disturbing as it is and countered as it must be, is a low-wattage phenomenon compared to the new, truly dangerous and infectious genre of the malady, which was arising just as the old version was losing its last vestiges of currency.

Within the mythology of East European nationalists, particularly but not exclusively in the Baltics and western Ukraine — where there was massive local participation in the actual killing of Jews, usually by shooting at local pits rather than by deportation to faraway camps — the Bogus moral equivalence of the Holocaust has been from the time of the actual massacres the myth that the Jews were all Communists and got what they deserved because Communism was every bit as genocidal as Nazism. Hence what the Jews call the Holocaust is a kind of opposite and equal reaction to the first genocide, the crimes of Communism.

For decades after World War II, this view was especially pronounced in Western diaspora communities from these countries, especially among those who migrated to the West at the war’s end. But such views on the fringes of obscure ultranationalist communities generally had little effect on wider society. It was only with the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of pro-Western states in much of Eastern Europe that the ultranationalist trope, emanating from those who rejoiced in the Nazis’ 1941 invasion of the USSR and in the “achievement” of a much more ethnically “clean,” homogeneous homeland, would be established as an acceptable-sounding new “analysis” of World War II. That new analysis would, in the fullness of time, recast the Holocaust as one of two essentially equal genocides by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

The capacity of East European states, including the Baltics, to rise as successful, impressive new democracies and join NATO and the EU in short order actually belies the notion that the Soviet crimes these nations suffered — and they suffered many, including deportations and the loss of religious, political and personal freedoms, including the freedom to emigrate — could have included genocide. Nevertheless, upon gaining their independence, these nations set about what the British parliamentarian and human rights champion John Mann has aptly called “an industrial-scale rewriting of history.” Mann, cofounder of the British parliament’s cross-party group to counter antisemitism, was in fact the first elected official in Europe (or anywhere) to expose an ongoing, powerful, but under-the-radar movement to rewrite Holocaust history. It was formally launched in January 2008, when a group of European Parliament members held a conference in Tallinn, Estonia, called “Common Europe — Common History,” dedicated to the idea that European unity in effect requires Western Europe (“Old Europe”) to give up its World War II notion of an anti-Nazi alliance — which crucially included the USSR from 1941 to 1945, without which Europe would have been Hitler’s — and replace it with a new paradigm of two equal evils, Communism and Nazism, in commemorating World War II.

Rising in the House of Commons on 31 January 2008, Mann slammed the effort to impose this kind of historical revisionism upon the West in the interests of “unity” (as if unity cannot tolerate diversity of views on history). Common Europe — Common History, Mann said, “is just a traditional form of prejudice, rewritten in a modern context. In essence, it is trying to equate Communism and Judaism as one conspiracy and rewrite history from a nationalist point of view.”

In fact, the next offensive in the crusade to entrench the idea that there were two equal genocides in 20th-century Europe was launched, with dozens of European parliamentarians signing, in June of that year: the “Prague Declaration.” “Consciousness of the crimes against humanity committed by the Communist regimes throughout the continent must inform all European minds to the same extent as the Nazi regime’s crimes did,” said the document. It went on to demand that recognition must be given “for their sufferings in the same way as the victims of Nazism have been morally and politically recognized.” The declaration called for a process of assessment equal to the Nuremberg Tribunal, and the establishment of August 23rd, the date of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939, as a date of pan-European commemoration “in the same way Europe remembers the victims of the Holocaust on January 27th,” an “overhaul of European history textbooks so that children could learn and be warned about Communism and its crimes in the same way as they have been taught to assess the Nazi crimes.”

THERE IS MUCH in the Prague Declaration that sounds exquisitely fair and in the spirit of equality of all peoples — for example, its call for the “principle of equal treatment and non-discrimination of victims of all the totalitarian regimes.” But for those living in Eastern Europe, it turned out to mean that there be equivalence in principle between, say, a town where all Jewish people were murdered and a town where a small minority of resident Latvian citizens were wrongfully deported by the Soviets to Siberia or otherwise deprived of human rights — truly a serious crime that needs to be documented and acknowledged, but not equivalent to genocide. Dr. Clemens Heni, a young Berlin-based political scientist, deserves much credit for academically deconstructing and exposing the Prague Declaration for what it is, when most academics in the field have feared to touch these issues with a bargepole (lest they be thought of as “Putinist lackeys” — such is the McCarthy-spirited shutdown of debate on the topic in recent years).

The roots of bogus moral equivalence argumentation are older, go deeper, and have distinct offshoots. A project to redefine “genocide” was already underway in the 1990s, with a number of Eastern European governments and parliaments passing laws (Lithuania in 1992, Estonia in 1994, Latvia in 1998) that defined as acts of genocide deportation and the elimination of “social classes” (such as the class of dissident intellectuals) from society by means including imprisonment, unemployment, deportation, and death. National museums were also established that equated the Communist and Nazi regimes, including the Museum of Genocide Victims founded in central Vilnius in 1992 (which until 2011 did not even mention the word “Holocaust”); the Lonsky Street Museum in Lviv, Ukraine, founded in 2009 (which has used Photoshop to obscure Jewish victims from a 1941 photograph); and Budapest’s “House of Terror,” which dates to 2002 and includes the “general” Communist star alongside the symbol specific to the Hungarian fascist leaders who deported their Jewish citizens to Auschwitz.

These museums have cumulatively welcomed millions of Western visitors, many of whom haven’t a clue that there is an active, state-sponsored attempt at Holocaust revisionism underway. It is shocking that young reporters from the New York Times in 2015, and the San Francisco Examiner in 2016, gave the Vilnius “Museum of Genocide Victims” uncritical, glowing write-ups, as if they had finally discovered what that genocide over in Europe was all about. By contrast, an older Guardian reporter (now retired), saw right through the place back in 2008.

ONE MAJOR SYMPTOM of the revisionism underway in Eastern Europe is the rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators as “national heroes” on the grounds that they were anti-Soviet. Here we see direct parallels with the current American debate on Confederate statues and memorials, but in Eastern Europe it is commission of genocide rather than the defense of slavery that is being honored.

It is fair to say that nearly all the local killers in Eastern Europe were, at the time of their crimes, reliably anti-Soviet. From the Nazi invasion of June 22, 1941 onward, when the actual genocidal phase of the Holocaust got underway, each and every murderer was anti-Soviet and yearned for a Nazi victory. By contrast, every victim of the Nazis, and all the Righteous among the Nations who risked all to just do the right thing and save a neighbor, prayed for a Soviet victory — not because they were all Communists, but because the Soviet Union was the only force seriously fighting the Nazis on ground zero of the Holocaust from the onset of the genocide and right through to liberation.

At its theoretical apex — and moral nadir — among scholars, politicians, and prosecutors in the Baltics and Ukraine, Bogus moral equivalence has also involved unstinting efforts to smear Holocaust victims and survivors. This reached its low point with a campaign by Lithuanian prosecutors to open “pre-trial investigations” of Holocaust survivors — particularly those who survived by joining groups of Soviet-sponsored partisans in the forests, or who in recent years supposedly committed “libel” against Baltic “heroes” who had collaborated with the Nazis.

The campaign started in 2006, and it goes on indefinitely (one of the five primary victims of these “investigations,” Dr. Rachel Margolis, passed away in 2015), although charges or specific allegations have never been proffered — nor have any state apologies ever been forthcoming.

As the official revisionist theory sees it, the Holocaust’s local perpetrators may have indeed committed murder against their neighbors, but they were heroes for standing up against the Soviet Union, while Holocaust survivors, victims of the Nazis and their collaborators, became war criminals if they survived by joining the partisans.

One of the most specific enunciations came from the executive director of the Lithuanian government’s lavishly sponsored “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania” (known in the diplomatic community as the “Red-Brown Commission”), in an on-camera statement made at Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), the massmurder site outside Vilnius where 100,000 people were murdered, among them 70,000 Jews. In the statement, for a recent Germanmade documentary film, when asked about one of the defamed Jewish partisans, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, he said: “I entirely agree that Fania Brantsovsky and others may feel bad, and I understand, but you know, the whole history was complex. In one situation, you know, the same person could be a victim, in another situation the same person can be a murderer and vice versa [. . .] Our commission is set up for reconciliation between these nations, between these groups who suffered from two totalitarian regimes [. . .]”

Most current antisemitism in Eastern Europe is closely related to these debates, as nationalists strive to “fix” their nations’ collaboration (or in the case of the Baltics and Ukraine, participation) in the Holocaust with revised paradigms that equal everything out.

One of the poisons of ultranationalism is the perceived need to construct a perfect history (no country on the planet has one of those). Another is hatred of local Jewish communities who have memory, or family, or collective memory, of nationalist neighbors turning viciously on their neighbors in 1941, and of the Soviets being responsible for their own grandparents or parents being saved from the Holocaust. In America, this would be akin to someone hating African Americans for having a different opinion of Washington or Jefferson because they were slaveholders.

In international parlance, the usual name for the revised history of the Holocaust era, reflecting the foregone conclusion that there were, morally speaking, two genocides, is “Double Genocide.” But not all sides accept the term. In fact, the diplomatic and academic lexicon is replete with alternatives: “equal evaluation of totalitarian regimes” or “reconciliation of history” (the Eurospeak favorites in Brussels and Strasbourg); “rebalancing of World War II away from the Jewish-centric and Soviet paradigm that dominates in America” (that’s the elite antisemitic/nationalist formulation); “saving the Holocaust for history by putting it in its actual historic context” (American historians after their umpteenth trip to Eastern Europe); or just plain “symmetry.”

The European Union actually finances the Platform of European Memory and Conscience in Prague, which has produced lavish, glossy publications, exhibits, and events intended to create a culture of Double Genocide in Europe and beyond. Under the aegis of a rightwing director from Sweden, it is working to set up a permanent museum in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, that is slated to become the major shrine for the movement in the West.

Such examples may have limited impact themselves. They are, however, dangerous for having the capacity to misrepresent a far-right revisionist view of history as some kind of new mainstream European Union norm.

The real explosion of Double Genocide acceptability abroad has come from an acquiescence born of political impetus, or, to be more precise, from two political impetuses: Israeli and American.

ISRAEL NEEDS East European votes in the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, and myriad other international organizations, and can get these votes; Eastern Europe has little interest in Palestinian issues or the intricacies of Middle East affairs.

The late Middle East specialist Barry Rubin openly crafted an Israeli policy of accommodation to the reappraisals of the Holocaust and World War II, including the Prague Declaration, as part of a program to strengthen Israel’s diplomatic posture.

To its editor’s credit, the Israeli Journal of Foreign Affairs in 2010 hosted a free and balanced debate on this issue in its pages. Around that time and in the ensuing years, Israeli foreign policy was shifting. Israel was pressed to give legitimacy to the aforementioned “Red-Brown Commission” by having Yad Vashem officially join it (actually rejoin; Yad Vashem had pulled out after Lithuanian prosecutors began proceedings against one of the commission’s own members, former Yad Vashem director Yitzhak Arad, for “war crimes,” in other words for escaping the ghetto to join up with the anti-Nazi resistance).

Yad Vashem’s repeated concessions to East European revisionism, under Israeli government pressure, have on occasion elicited the rare and painful specter of aged Israeli Holocaust survivors begging it to reconsider. There have even been modifications to Yad Vashem’s own exhibit on the Holocaust in Lithuania.

Since opening an Israeli embassy in Vilnius (previously the embassy in Riga had covered Latvia as well as Lithuania) several years ago, the new ambassador has repeatedly betrayed Holocaust survivors, especially the three Israeli citizens waiting (or whose families wait) for a formal Lithuanian apology for the defamatory accusations of “war crimes” or “libeling heroes” that continue to mar their reputations, whether in history books or the Internet. After a 2016 neo-Nazi parade in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania’s second city, which featured banners extolling local Holocaust collaborators, he publicly congratulated the city’s leaders on their Jewish remembrance policies without publicly mentioning, howsoever politely, the annual neo-Nazi extravaganza allowed to hijack the city center on the nation’s very independence day.

But no discussion of Israeli foreign policy on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe can be complete without singling out for his exceptional courage, integrity and sheer diplomatic genius the late Israeli Ambassador to the Baltics, Chen Ivri Apter (1958—2012), who demonstrated that he could build the best possible relations with Baltic states while standing up for his own citizens and for the truth of Jewish history. When I organized an evening in Tel Aviv in June 2009 to honor the late Dr. Rachel Margolis, one of the Holocaust survivors and partisan heroes defamed by prosecutors and afraid to go back for a last farewell to her beloved Vilna, Ambassador Apter came specially to join the event, and gave a speech that countered Double Genocide in simple, stark, elegant terms, one that will go down in history. The Jews of Vilnius continue to lovingly and loyally cherish his memory.

UNITED STATES POLICY regarding the Double Genocide theory began to change markedly around 2009 (I have written about this in considerable detail at the Jewish Currents website.) As one American diplomat put it to me some years ago, off the record: “Look, these guys will stand up to the Russians, not like England, France and Germany. And if all they want is some changes in the history, and it’s changes that hit Putin in the face, then why the hell not?!”

American embassies in the region have thus organized one-sided Holocaust conferences closed to a diversity of views. When in 2012 the Lithuanian government repatriated from Putnam, Connecticut, the remains of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister who signed papers ordering the Jews of his city, Kaunas, to a murder camp and the rest to the Kovno Ghetto, the American Embassy, instead of politely speaking up in the spirit of American values, covered for the sham with “balanced statements” and the organization of a cover-up conference featuring Yale professor Timothy Snyder as well as the director of YIVO. Nobody at the conference even mentioned the reburial with full honors underway. When the East European countries inserted Double Genocide language, blaming both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, equally, for “genocide,” into a declaration of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2009, the United States voted for it.

For the record, I think it is vital that the West continues to support unstintingly the democratic states of the eastern NATO and EU region against Putin’s ever-more dictatorial, dangerous, and revanchist regime. Also for the record, Holocaust revisionism and Double Genocide politics are the wrong way to do that, from the viewpoint of American values and American heritage. These values include telling the truth about the Holocaust — which should extend to rejecting ultra-nationalistic campaigns to obfuscate that truth (just as we should tell the truth about America’s own worst calamity, slavery, and oppose campaigns to obfuscate its reality.)

American values also include the commitment to freedom of speech. But strange to tell, freedom of speech has not been the rule for issues involving Double Genocide: Eastern European states have been passing laws effectively criminalizing the opinion that there was but one genocide in the region. The punishments now enshrined in law range from imprisonment for two years in Lithuania to ten years in Ukraine. As for the American heritage issue, it a gross betrayal of American pride to consign to oblivion America’s huge sacrifices in the anti-Nazi war, in alliance with Great Britain and the Soviet Union, among others, because a few of our allies don’t like this or that chapter of history.

The Holocaust is not referred to simply as the “Nazi genocide,” but has its own names — Yiddish, der Khurbn, Hebrew, ha-Shoah, English, the Holocaust — to signify a unique event. It is more than a linguistic curiosity that postwar attempts by some Jewish groups to subsume the Holocaust as one of the historic massacres endured by the Jews that are mourned on Tíshebov (Tisha b’Av) failed, because of the virtually unanimous feeling among survivors that this one, in 20th-century Europe, was so very different, and intrinsically incomparable with even the primary ancient national catastrophes of destruction and exile.

The Holocaust cannot, must not, be subsumed — but that is precisely what the Double Genocide theory seeks to do. It is the primary new mainstream form of Holocaust Denial, and should be treated with at least as much outrage as President Trump’s invocation of supposed moral equivalence between people who came to Charlottesville, Virginia in Nazi-style torch-lit processions to chant, “Jews will not replace us” and the Nazis’ “Blood and Soil” in English translation (they had to make their connection to Hitler-era Nazism), and those who came to protest them. Infinitely, infinitely less can the Holocaust itself be considered as a moral equal of some other “bad thing” from its period in history — other than for the proponents of Bogus moral equivalence, who use it as a tool of discourse, sophistry, casuistry, to talk the Holocaust out of history without denying a single death.

Dovid Katz is a Brooklyn-born, Vilniusbased independent Yiddish studies and Holocaust scholar. He edits Defending History.com. Katz founded and led Yiddish Studies at Oxford for eighteen years, and after a stint at Yale, was professor of Yiddish language, literature, and culture at Vilnius University (1999-2010). He is currently professor at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and notes that the views expressed herein are strictly his own. His personal website is http://www.DovidKatz.net.

Lithuanian repression of protesters against Holocaust denial

In the ongoing EU propaganda against Russia, rewriting history plays a more important part than what has been recognized so far by most people in the peace movement. This includes criminalizing and harassing people who claim that Lithuanians who today are acknowledged as official national heroes actually took active part in the Holocaust. Early March a trial will take place in Vilnius in an attempt to turn the tide.
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Neo-Nazimarch in Kaunas 2016 described as follows at the Defending History website: ”This year’s theme was a front-of-march We Know Our Nation’s Heroes banner featuring six figures who share the following unsettling common denominator: all were alleged Nazi collaborators and/or Holocaust perpetrators (from left): Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Jonas Noreika, Povilas Plechavičius, Kazys Škirpa, Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis. It is as if the marchers are celebrating the murder of the 30,000 Jewish citizens of Kaunas, the more than 95% of the over 200,000 strong Lithuanian Jewish population on the eve of the Holocaust, and the resulting “cleansing” of Lithuania’s Jewish minority.” photo Defending History

In the British semi secret Integrity Initiative project1, every possibility to wage an information war against Russia is taken into account. This includes approaching academic historians to make them write history in the NATO correct way.2 Integrity Initiative explicitly sees Lithuania as an example for the rest of Europe in its way to wage information war against Russia. The leader of Integrity Initiative in Lithuania is also so far the only alleged Integrity Initiative cluster leader that proudly presents himself as having such a position.3 The Ministry of Defense in Lithuania is also among the few funders of Integrity Initiative.4 In the leaked documents Integrity Initiative report that Lithuanian armed forces have been training the British Army’s 77th Brigade5, a brigade engaged in fighting information war on the internet:

”Lithuania has become particularly important in our network due to its expertise in dealing with Russian malign influence and disinformation. We currently have four centres of expertise in Lithuania. Since 2015 we have had a close link with the Lithuanian Armed Forces Stratcom team, currently drawing on their expertise, with the support of the Lithuanian Chief of Defence, to educate other national clusters on effective methodologies for tracking Russian activities. We initiated a link between this team and the UK 77 Bde, resulting in 77 Bde adopting the Lithuanian techniques.”6
Lithuania have long experience in rewriting history to demonise Soviet Union and using this to also defame Russia. This rewriting of history has even included to put a stamp on Jewish partisans as persons who have committed the worst war crime, participation in genocide.7 This follows the “double genocide theory” making communism equal to Nazism. According to this theory Soviet committed genocide of Lithuanians and Germany of Jews.8 To oppose this theory makes you a target for repression together with accusing Lithuanian national heroes claiming they have committed war crimes by taking part in the Holocaust. The struggle against those opposing rewriting of history has been going on for years.9 Evaldas Balčiūnas writes about 7 years of struggle against the Lithuanian state and far right extremism:

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The protesters against the neo-Nazi March in Vilnius 2011, photo Sebastian Pammer

”Together with some friends, we tried to protest various neo-Nazi marches. I remember how in 2011, when we went to Gedimino Boulevard in central Vilnius to do exactly that, we attracted some police ‘attention’ and direct threats of physical violence. The Tolerant Youth Association’s (TYA) rainbow flag was the object of especially fiery reactions from the marchers. However, no violence took place during the march, although one of the protesters was beaten after it. Out of our wish to resist the rise of fascism, the non-formal anti-fascist organization Antifa Lietuva was born. Besides peaceful and legal action in the streets, it also ran a website. Some articles on it, such as those on neo-Nazi marches or neo-Nazis in the Lithuanian military, would receive feedback from wider society. Due to certain circumstances, the domain was registered under my name.

Then, our social activism gathered some attention from the secret services of the Republic of Lithuania. In their summary of the threats (!) to the Republic of Lithuania in 2013, published in early 2014, the State Security Department wrote about us in the chapter ‘Extremism and Terrorism’. An excerpt in translation:

‘In most European states, the phenomenon of radical anti-fascism is related to autonomist groups propagating ideologies of leftist extremism. In Lithuania and other Baltic States, this niche is taken by organizations that implement Russia’s foreign and information policy. Their members tend to use the term ‘right-wing extremism’ not only for expressions of state patriotism related to any country, but also for criticism towards Russia’s policies and for opposition to the concept of historical interpretation as suggested by Moscow.’
Suffice it to say I am a lifelong opponent of Soviet rule, Stalinist crimes, and indeed, any autocratic, dictatorial regime that stifles freedom. Protesting against the glorification of Holocaust collaborators has not the slightest connection to being “pro-Russia” in any 21st century sense. The security services are abusing current geopolitics to stifle free discussion about state policy of making heroes out of Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators. As if such glorification of Nazi accomplices represents some kind of struggle against communism, the Soviet Union, or Putin’s dictatorial Russia.

Words soon turned into actions. Various state-favored personages started suing and courts would take their claims seriously and start trials, even when claims clearly had no basis or contradicted official codes of procedure. Due to police and court persecutions, the website Antifa.lt was closed down. The persecution lasted a long time and was a struggle to endure. Because of it, I lost my job and had to look for another.

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Evaldas Balčiūnas, photo Defending History

Four judges of the District Court of Vilnius City investigated — and rejected as lacking basis or contradicting the procedural requirements — claims submitted by a person who was later convicted in a case of what could be called, in my humble opinion, political murder: the original conflict that led to the killing started when a group of bar patrons, closely associated with neo-Nazis, decided that another patron was a Putin supporter. The fight was uneven: The wolfpack attacked two people, of whom one died as a result.

My trials were interesting as experience. They reminded me of the Soviet years, when the verdict would be known in advance. One judge made a verdict without my participation, without even asking me for any arguments or informing me about her decision. Another judge investigated the case for half a year, then was forced to admit that the claim contradicts the requirements of the Civil Code of Procedures and dismissed the case. The process was slowed down by failing to deliver court documents to other participants and by waiting for additional evidence, while I had to regularly travel to court hearings that would be cancelled more often than not. Every time, it was 450 kilometers there and back, and another wasted day in life.”10

Finally in 2016 Evaldas Balčiūnas was fund not guilty.11 A new struggle begun. A stone honoring Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika tops the lot on the facade of the Genocide Museum on Gedimino Boulevard in the Lithuanian capital, a stone’s throw from the nation’s parliament. ”When are we going to stop glorifying those who helped annihilate Lithuanian Jewry during the Holocaust?”12 This new struggle is now reaching its climax.

The website defendinghistory.com reports:

”On January 15th, 2019, at 10 AM, a momentous historic court case will unfold in Vilnius, Lithuania, scheduled to start at the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court at Žygimantų 2 in the heart of the capital. Challenged by a call for removal of Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika from the pantheon of national heroes (including street names, memorials and an inscribed stone block on the capital’s central boulevard), the state-sponsored “Genocide Center”, a bastion of far-right extremism that, in the opinion of many, does grave damage to the image of modern democratic Lithuania, will be defending Noreika using the hard-earned tax euros of the nation’s noble citizens.”13 The trial was postponed until March 5th.14

One would guess that the Lithuanian state finally would give up its struggle to defend even the most well documented Lithuanian participators in the Holocaust and stop attacking those who have exposed them. After all many years of harassment and trials had failed and finally a verdict was made. But now we are in Lithuania, a model country for the British Integrity Initiative, so the information war continues even long after the battles are lost.

On the 14th of January 2019 Andrius Kulikauskas published news showing that the state still tries to make its case. Lithuanian National Defense Ministry’s Strategic Communications Department and Public Relations’ Planning and Analysis Division published “The War for Hearts and Minds”, “Karas dėl širdžių ir protų”. In this pdf publication on page 43 a portrait of Evaldas Balčiūnas is presented together with claims questioning a well known journalist Rimvydas Valatka who was crucial in also criticizing the national hero Jonas Noreika for his participation in the Holocaust. In the struggle for hearts and minds the Ministry of Defense is replacing arguments in substance with irrelevant issues of form. The publication presents part of an influential text by Valatka showing that it is actually plagiarized from at text by the less known and by the state harassed Evaldas Balčiūnas as if that changed anything. Evaldas Balčiūnas himself had long before stated that he had nothing against. For the Lithuanian state that is of no importance, what counts is yet another irrelevant way to ty to question those criticizing national heroes who were Jew killers. In spite of loosing in the courts the state still tries to defame those that won the case and obfuscate the role some national heroes had in the Holocaust.

The odd way to continue for ever a lost information war against a writing of history seen as helpful to Russia is what Integrity Initiative sees as an ideal. There is no such thing as peace on any issue. The Lithuanian ”expertise in dealing with Russian malign influence and disinformation” is to be used also in other countries. A leaked report from Norway summarizes well what the Integrity Initiative is about and how the cooperation partners in Lithuania acts:

”Building the cooperation between the classified and unclassified world, keeping in mind that one of the main targets is the hearts and minds of the public.”15

Illustration: Chris Donnelly in a video. ”In Donnelly’s world everything is subordinated their war on peace. Every aspect of our lives; social interactions, cultural activities, religious affiliation, trade links, political activism, professional activity and so on requires servitude to this war.”16

Such an actor that arbitrarily use whatever state or non-state tools they want, secretly or openly, is a danger to democracy. But is it fair to claim any linkage between Integrity Initiate and the attempt to repress questioning national heroes? The problem here is of course the secrecy. For sure is that the Lithuanian State Security Department equates antifascist autonomists with those in favor of Russian policies and historical interpretations. It is a country were domestic leaders of the Integrity Initiative proudly declares themselves to be part of this mixing of the state apparatus, research and journalism. Paul Robinson also point at a the disturbing world view expressed by the Integrity Initiative leader Chris Donnelly were ”boundaries between war and peace have disappeared”. To Donnelly we are at war now, a kind of information war which is part of a hybrid war against an enemy with immense capacity to implement an ‘integrated strategic campaign’ involving not only the military but all aspects of state power in a coherent whole. This alleged strategic culture make Russia a particularly dangerous enemy and ”is the strategic situation we will face for the next 25 years.”17

What happens in Lithuania is a testing ground for the kind of methods the British influence operation sees as a model for other countries. It is what a militarized neoliberalism will bring us all if we do not start to confront the rewriting of history and the repression against those who stand up against authoritarian ways to silence freedom of expression.

As the Lithuanian case is central for the attempts at rewriting history in all of Europe making it clear what is at stake we recommend people to learn more. A good starting point is a video about Lithuanian struggle against those opposing the far right rewriting of history. To support the case in the trial it has been made public for free. It is a professionally made Australian documentary about the often lonesome struggle by Jewish surviving partisans and their few supporters. It ends with a seemingly successful at the European Parliament and its president Hermann Schulz. But the success was temporary and the struggle goes on.18

Activists for Peace will continue to support the last Jewish partisans and their struggle against far right rewriting of history, a rewriting of history that have received wide support as it easily is instrumentalized in the Western information war against Russia and building of peace.

Activists for peace cooperation partner Prague Spring 2 network put light on the Lithuanian rewriting efforts in its newsletter some years ago:

From PS2 newsletter nr 2 2016

Lithuania rewrites history

In Lithuania rewriting of history has gone so far that criminal investigations start against Jewish partisans for committing genocide. Especially are those Jewish partisans accused who have exposed Lithuanian participation in the Holocaust, among them Yitzhak Arad the first director for 21 years of the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. As the Soviet partisans were the only multi ethnic partisan group in Eastern Europe Jewish survivors had nowhere else to go. In Lithuanian legislation this could involve participation in genocide according to the double genocide theory which states that a genocide was not only organized against the Jews but also against the population of Lithuania by the Soviets. Thus carefully selected Jewish partisans by the juridical authorities included not only those that had exposed the Lithuanian atrocities against the Jews but also selected members of Soviet partisan groups according to ethnic criteria, that is only Jews were going to be investigated for committing genocide. As they lived abroad this was hard to realize but as an act to brand Jews and Russia/Soviet for committing genocide it was useful.

Illustration: Skärmdump ur PS2 newsletter

Footnotes

1 The official Integrity Initiative website has been closed two months after Asnonymous started to leak secret documents from the computers belonging to the project. The leader of the project, Chris Donelly explains the purpose of the project in a video after the leak: Overview of leaked documents: Briefing note on the Integrity Initiative, Paul McKeigue, David Miller, Jake Mason, Piers Robinson, http://syriapropagandamedia.org/working-papers/briefing-note-on-the-integrity-initiative

2 ”Key journalists should be approached and somewhat ambitious also ‘academics to track and expose the Russian distortion of history.’ ” https://steigan.no/2019/01/how-integrity-initiative-and-atlantic-council-is-exposed-in-norway/

https://disinfoportal.org/author/simas-celutka

4 Co-funding: http://syriapropagandamedia.org/working-papers/briefing-note-on-the-integrity-initiative#co-funding

5 Carl Miller, Inside the British Army’s secret information warfare machine, Wired, November 14, 2018, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/inside-the-77th-brigade-britains-information-warfare-military

6 Briefing note on the Integrity Initiative, Paul McKeigue, David Miller, Jake Mason, Piers Robinson, chapter 8 Links of the Integrity Initiative with extremism in the Baltic States and Ukraine http://syriapropagandamedia.org/working-papers/briefing-note-on-the-integrity-initiative#links-of-the-integrity-initiative-with-extremism-in-the-baltic-states-and-ukraine

7 Blaming the Victims? State Agencies & Other Elites Defame Holocaust Survivors
http://defendinghistory.com/blaming-the-victims

8 Lithuanian Constitutional Court Further Enables “Double Genocide” http://defendinghistory.com/lithuanian-constitutional-court-enables-double-genocide/64984

http://defendinghistory.com/could-lithuanias-single-freedom-of-speech-lapse-be-on-questions-of-history/94052

10 http://defendinghistory.com/my-seven-years-in-lithuania-with-jonas-noreika-general-storm/97329

11 http://defendinghistory.com/defending-history-writer-evaldas-balciunas-is-found-not-guilty/82951

12 http://defendinghistory.com/on-the-public-monuments-to-noreika-and-a-secret-text-petition-a-strange-summers-media-circus/76763

13 http://defendinghistory.com/holocaust-trial-of-the-21st-century/96578

14 http://defendinghistory.com/noreika-trial-adjourned-to-march-5th-after-state-sponsored-genocide-center-tells-panel-of-judges-it-needs-time-to-study-the-papers/97530

15 https://steigan.no/2019/01/how-integrity-initiative-and-atlantic-council-is-exposed-in-norway

16 https://activistsforpeace.wordpress.com/2018/12/27/the-purpose-of-the-integrity-initiative-and-what-it-does-we-are-all-in-an-ongoing-war-according-to-chris-donnelly-founder-and-director-of-the-institute-for-statecraft-and-former-nato-advisor/

17 https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2019/01/25/bad-statecraft

18 Danny Ben-Mosche, Rewriting history https://vimeo.com/307585015

A call for an April 10 International Day of Solidarity with the people of Odessa!

A CALL FOR AN APRIL 10 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY
WITH THE PEOPLE OF ODESSA!

blommorodessa2maj2014.jpg

The days following May, 2 2014 saw people visiting the burnt House of Unions leaving flowers in respect to the victims. Later, the building was cordoned off. Erected memorials on the Kulikovo square have been vandalised and torn down. Relatives and others who visit the site are harassed and sometimes they are attacked by far-right groups.
Foto: Gail Orenstein/Corbis

<< Swedish version: Click here >>

To draw attention to the Ukrainian government’s repression of opposition forces in Odessa and Ukraine, Odessa solidarity campaign is calling for an International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa on April 10, 2017.

  • All out for the April 10 International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa!   
  • Free Alexander Kushnarev, Anatoly Slobodyanik and all political prisoners in Ukraine!   
  • Stop the repression against relatives & supporters of those killed on May 2, 2014!   
  • No to right-wing extremism in Ukraine and all over the world!

Odessa solidarity campaign is calling for rallies, vigils and demonstrations outside Ukrainian embassies and consular offices around the world. Activists for peace (In Swedish: Aktivister för fred) supports the call and plans to deliver a statement to the Ukrainian Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.

We call on others to also support the International Day of Solidarity.

Please spread this appeal. For PDF-format: Click here.

If you want to take an active role and show your support for the people of Odessa, you are welcome to get in touch with Activists for Peace. Send a message via Facebook or e-mail the aktivisterforfred(at)gmail.com to get in touch with us.

In case you are planning a campaign outside of Stockholm, Sweden; make direct contact Odessa Solidarity Campaign DefendersFJE(at)hotmail.com in order to register your interest to participate.


Since February 2014 when the democratically elected president Viktor Janykovych, in violation of the constitution and with support of Western governments and right-wing paramilitary groups, was overthrown; the right of Ukrainian people to free speech has been steadily restricted.

The continuing demand of Odessans for an international independent investigation into the massacre at Kulikovo square has been a particular irritant to the federal government.

February 23, 2017 Alexander Kushnarev (65 years) was arrested by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). Kushnarev, who is a deputy of the Limansk District Council, is also father of one of the young people murdered in the house of unions in Odessa May, 2 2014. The father is actively working for an investigation into to the murder of his son and that those responsible are brought to justice. Anatoly Slobodyanik (68 years), who is a retired military officer (Lieutenant General) and chairman of Odessa Organisation of Veterans of Armed Forces, was also arrested. It is unclear what they are accused of and why they are being held in custody. Earlier on, Odessan region’s chief prosecutor Oleg Zhuchenko said that the two men were planning to kidnap a member of the country’s Rada, or parliament. These allegations have been met with criticism from several quarters, including from politicians and former diplomats.

The Rada deputy, Alexei Goncharenko, who is elected on a mandate from President Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc, is controversial even for the current Ukrainian government. May 2, 2014, he was at the scene in Odessa. He reported live on Ukrainian television about “victory over the separatists” and this was met with applause from the studio. Goncharenko also went into the building and, among other things, he was photographed next to Kushanarevs dead son.

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Photo from court hearings in the cases against Alexander Kushnarev och Anatolij Slobodyanik, March, 10 2017.
Foto: Таймер

Another person is under house arrest, while Kushanarev and Slobodynanik are detained in Odessa. There, it is considered that conditions in prison are aimed at breaking the prisoner’s will to resist. Uniting Nations (UN) has reported on the inhumane conditions and about forced “confessions” as detainees are held by SBU in Odessa.

The two older men have health problems and it is feared that they will not survive confinement. In early March, it was reported that Slobodynanik’s heart problems worsened. A doctor was called in who later ruled that it is not understandable why the former Lieutenant-General is not given house arrest instead of being imprisoned. The Ukrainian authorities refuse to take this into account in their assessments of the case. Health problems prevented Slobodyanik to be present during the last court hearing of his case where it was decided that he is going to be held until the middle of May. Kushanarev will be imprisoned at least until the end of April when the new court hearing is scheduled.

Since the two men were arrested, the Ukrainian police have searched through their homes and also the homes of their relatives and others. Ominous reports are now surfacing about plans to arrest more relatives and supporters and extract “confessions” of plans to commit violent acts against the Ukrainian government. The United Nations has repeatedly reported on cases of forced “confessions” in Ukrainian prisons, including in Odessa.

If the voices of these brave people are allowed to be silenced, Ukraine will have taken another huge step toward becoming an undemocratic police state in collusion with murderous right-wing groups.

April, 10 is a date of great significance to all Odessans, as it marks the day in 1944 when Odessa was liberated from years of axis occupation.

Take action on April, 10 and all other days in solidarity with the people of Odessa and Ukraine!


Activists for peace (In Swedish: Aktivister för fred) is a non-profit organisation that was formed May 9, 2015 and works with a platform of: 1) Peace on earth and peace with earth, 2) Support for conflict resolution and in favour of peace negotiations – no to war, 3) Yes to common security – no to rearmament and 4) Yes to investments for social justice and the environment – no to austerity policies in Ukraine, Europe and elsewhere.

The Odessa Solidarity Campaign is a project of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC). It was founded in May 2016 following the second anniversary memorial of the massacre of May 2, 2014. A delegation of UNAC members from the United States attended the memorial, which was held at Odessa’s Kulikovo square.