Søvndal does a u-turn on torture intel

Enhedslisten demands an explanation after foreign affairs minister contradicts himself on torture-generated intelligence

Wonder if the overpriced food will go digital as well (photo: B Lund)
March 12th, 2012 1:09 pm| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Only 12 hours after stating that it was unacceptable, Villy Søvndal now says that it is suitable to use information acquired through means of torture.

In an article published by Berlingske newspaper on Sunday, Søvndal was critical of the Danish government using information garnered through the use of torture, starkly opposing the stance taken by the previous administration.

“We have made it an important priority to defend human rights and oppose the use of torture and as a result we find odd and contradictory to utilise information obtained through the use of torture,” Søvndal told Berlingske on Sunday.

In an astonishingly quick turn of events, however, Søvndal then contradicted himself later the same day, admitting in a joint press release with Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), the justice minister, that things are rarely black and white and that ethical dilemmas exist in the fight for terror and are an unfortunate part of the realities faced by domestic intelligence agency PET.

“The line remains unchanged in regards to our intelligence agency’s cooperation with partners of other nations,” Søvndal and Bødskov wrote. “To solve the issues our intelligence service has to exchange information with nations that may employ interrogation tactics that go against the Danish perception of justice.”

Søvndals initial comments drew ire from Tom Behnke, the spokesperson from the Konservative (K).

“We are against the use of torture, but if our intelligence agency comes across information from a country employing torture tactics concerning a planned terror action against the Opera [in Copenhagen], naturally PET should be able to use the information.”

Enhedslisten’s spokesman, Christian Juhl, was not impressed with the conflicting messages being conveyed by Søvndal and wants an explanation.

“At the foreign affairs meeting today, I will demand that the foreign minister accounts for his comments. The erratic path currently being used by the minister is completely unacceptable”, Juhl told Politiken newspaper.

Behnke told Berlingske that he was happy that Søvndal had come to his senses again.

“It is commendable to have the opinion, that I share, that torture is unacceptable and should be combated, but we need to face reality,” Benhke said. “We have to accept the fact that we will come across information that we will have to act upon, knowing that there may be a good chance that it was obtained through torture. It’s not because we sanction the use of torture, but if the lives of thousands of Danish citizens are at stake, we have a responsibility to use the information.”

PET also state on their website that all information received is carefully scrutinised, and that intelligence that may have been acquired through torture can be “low value” and unreliable. Conversely, PET assures that they do not pass on information if it they suspect the information will lead to the torture of an individual.

Wonder if the overpriced food will go digital as well (photo: B Lund)
Lego goes digital … again
Fans of digital block-building games everywhere can once again build their ...
Are you ready for Copenhagen's largest street festival? (photo: Distortion)
Do not adjust your seats: This is Distortion!
Distortion June 3-7; various locations; tickets at billetlugen.dk; distort...
Kids can also celebrate Distortion (photo: iStock)
Who said Distortion was only for adults?
Distortion for Kids Final Party Sat 6 June, 12:00-16:00; Fisketorvet, Kalv...
The country’s most popular
street festival has become widely
palatable and might even break
even, but has it lost its charm? (All photos: Distortion)
From throwing caution to the bins to making Distortion respectable
In the first week of June each year, Denmark’s favourite street festiva...
This Spidey is dangerous in more ways than one (photo: Jysk)
Jysk recalls toxic children’s bed linen
Jysk is calling on any customers who have purchased Spider-man 2 bed linens...
Thailand is planning significant investments in infrastructure,the  health sector, green solutions and its retail business (photo: iStock)
Danish export to Thailand on the rise
The first few months of 2015 are looking promising in terms of Danish expor...