Swedish government funding of Palestinian propaganda

The following is a translation of an article published in Swedish daily Expressen on 1 march 2004

Expressen’s revelations that Swedish foreign-aid organisation SIDA has donated more than 20 million kronor to PLO propaganda machine NSU will now become an issue for the Swedish government.

Kept in the dark at the very top

MP Ewa Björling (Conservative) is today demanding that the Government bring everything out into the open regarding the scandal of clandestine support to the PLO’s propaganda unit, the NSU (Negotiation Support Unit).Expressen revealed that Sweden, through its national aid organisation SIDA, has donated more than 20 million kronor of taxpayers’ money to the Palestinian propaganda machine’s NSU or Negotiation Support Unit.

According to the PLO’s own homepage, the role of the NSU is to “influence international opinion to support the Palestinian viewpoint”.

Sweden’s financial support has been kept secret from the politicians appointed as members of SIDA’s board.

“As a member of the board of SIDA, I feel completely steamrollered. The question is just what role our board can be expected to play when aid is kept hidden from us.

“Today in the House I will ask the minister in charge of international aid what she thinks about our country making generous donations to a propaganda organisation currently engaged in an international conflict.”

“Had no idea”

SIDA’s Director General, Maria Norrfalk, commented to Expressen that she had no idea that her own organisation is donating millions to the PLO’s propaganda machine:

I am not familiar with the NSU and I cannot comment on this issue. We are involved in such an incredibly vast array of efforts, I am not familiar with each and every one of them.

However, I shall immediately request all information on this question from the relevant department at SIDA.”

Not a word

SIDA’s massive website lists a vast number of foreign-aid projects in which it is involved.

But there’s not a word to be found about support for the NSU.