Denmark’s Social Democrat female leaders have followed their American counterparts in adopting a Russophobic discourse to justify the sell-out of their country
France and Germany’s demand last May for “full clarity” from the United States and Denmark concerning their spying upon its leaders fizzled out as Russophobia took preference during President Joe Biden’s recent European tour.
The same goes for Sweden and Norway among three dozen national leaders so infringed upon.
New revelations concerning Denmark’s systematic spying upon its closest neighbor leaders—Germany, France, Norway and Sweden—since at least 2013 were broadcast and published online by the public service broadcaster Danmark Radio (DR) on May 30. This came as a follow-up to DR reports in August and December 2020.
These were the first revelations brought about last year by at least one whistleblower within the Danish Intelligence Service (FE) about how it operates beyond the law and without basic democratic input:
- Withholding “key and crucial information to government authorities” and the oversight committee between 2014 and today;
- Illegal activities even before 2014;
- Telling “lies” to policymakers;
- Illegal surveillance on Danish citizens, including a member of the oversight committee. [Some of this illegal spying had been shared with unnamed sources (later discovered to be the U.S. National Security Agency)];
- Unauthorized activities have been shelved; and
- The FE failed to follow up on indications of espionage within areas of the Ministry of Defense.
These are the current key revelations:
- EU/NATO allies have been spied upon for the United States by FE, the Danish Intelligence Service (Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste), and without the knowledge of parliament and most government leaders.
- The French, Norwegian and Swedish leaders spied upon have come forth with strong critiques and demands for an investigation, full clarity, and an end to such “grotesque” behavior. They supported Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s critical statements in 2014 when Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. tapped into her private cell phone calls.
- The spying by NSA, with the approval of FE’s leadership, is code-named Operation Dunhammer. 
The Danish Intelligence Service has also been violating Denmark’s constitution by systematically spying upon its own citizens for U.S. economic profit and political interests. This has nothing to do with spying upon their joint “enemies,” e.g., Russia, China, Iran, et al.
The FE is the equivalent to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). While the FE jurisdiction covers military intelligence, they must not spy on Danish people, only foreigners and people in other countries. The Police Intelligence Service (PET) surveils Danes, as the FBI surveils within the U.S.
The DR has been working with journalists from Sweden (SVT), Norway (NRK), Germany (Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR, WDR) and France (Le Monde) on these new developments. Their work motivated four of the 35 national leaders known to be spied upon by the U.S. to protest.
“We demand to be fully informed about matters concerning Swedish citizens, companies and interests. And then we have to see how the answer sounds from the political side in Denmark,” Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told national broadcaster SVT.
“We take the allegations seriously,” his Norwegian counterpart Frank Bakke-Jensen told national broadcaster NRK.
Both defense ministers emphasized that their Danish colleague, Defense Minister Trine Bramsen, has failed to inform them about Denmark and its partner, the National Security Agency (NSA), spying on Denmark’s neighbors.
“We did not get to know anything concrete about the case at all,” Frank Bakke-Jensen of Norway complained.
“The French Foreign Ministry’s minister of state for European affairs, Clement Beaune, called the possible U.S. spying campaign on European politicians a very serious thing, and called for further verification of the information,…,If confirmed, Beaune did not rule out ‘consequences.’”
On May 31, PM Emmanuel Macron said such behavior “is unacceptable between allies, and even less acceptable between allies and European partners.”
The Danish Radio (DR) wrote, “Angela Merkel backed the criticism from Macron, who expects to get an explanation from both the U.S. and Denmark.”
Nevertheless, there has been no explanation or apology, at least not one made known to reporters or the public. Denmark’s Defense Minister stated: “I will not engage in discussions and speculation about intelligence information, but I can say very clearly that I have a really excellent working relationship with all my colleagues – including the Nordic countries.”
Both Bramsen and PM Mette Frederiksen had earlier claimed that they viewed systematic wiretapping of close allies as “unacceptable,” choosing Macron’s term and that of Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who added that such hostile conduct was “unnecessary.”
Bramsen and Frederiksen, however, did not address whether surveillance other than “systematic” was acceptable.
Just why is it that the Danish government “cannot” speak publically (that is democratically) or even privately to its neighbor leaders about its spying is not forthcoming.
Danish Intelligence Service and NSA also refuse to comment. Nor do we know if Barack Obama or Joe Biden apologized to Merkel. President Obama had allegedly told Merkel, in 2013, that tapping into her phone would not occur again.
Concerning the new revelations, Edward Snowden stated: “Biden is well-prepared to answer for this when he soon visits Europe since, of course, he was deeply involved in this scandal the first time around. There should be an explicit requirement for full public disclosure not only from Denmark, but their senior partner as well.
Despite Snowden’s optimism that Biden was “well-prepared to answer” European leaders’ concerns about being spied upon, it did not happen during or since Biden’s week-long trip June 9-16, at least that we know.
Playing the Russia Card
Danish leaders, like many of their counterparts, have become very adept at demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin and invoking a mythic Russian threat to justify the expansion of mass surveillance and violation of civil liberties.
And the media have followed suit. The DR’s chief U.S. correspondent, for example, promoted a stark Putinphobia in his review of Joe Biden’s recent trip to Europe. Steffen Kretz wrote that, following Biden’s meeting with EU and NATO, he would meet the “West’s evil spirit, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.”
Humiliated leaders of Germany, France, Sweden and Norway seemingly went along with “business as usual,” welcoming “America’s return to normalcy.” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed European leaderships’ joy during the G7 and NATO meetings.
“Well, Mr. President, dear Joe, we are so pleased to welcome you in Brussels. You … and America [are] back on the global scene.”
“America is back,” President Biden responded. “We never fully left, but we are reasserting the fact that it’s overwhelmingly in the interest of the United States of America to have a great relationship with NATO and with the EU.”
Von der Leyen, a former German defense minister (2013-19), apparently lapsed into psychological projection when she said that Europe needed to join with Biden, in order “to constrain Russia’s attempts to undermine us.”
Joe Biden said he had three missions during his trip. One was to “let President Vladimir Putin know what he needs to hear.” Three months before, Biden told CNN that he thought Putin was a killer and had no soul.
NATO’s secretary general, former Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, said that NATO will not simply “mirror” Russia. It will de facto outspend it and surround it. Surround it with multiple battle formations, since “we now have implemented the biggest reinforcements of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War.”
NATO’s “Brussels Summit Communiqué” listed Russia unfavorably 63 times and China ten.
Point 9 of the Communiqué reads: “While NATO stands by its international commitments, Russia continues to breach the values, principles, trust, and commitments outlined in agreed documents that underpin the NATO-Russia relationship … We have suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia, while remaining open to political dialogue. Until Russia demonstrates compliance with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities, there can be no return to ‘business as usual.’ We will continue to respond to the deteriorating security environment by enhancing our deterrence and defense posture, including by a forward presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.”
NATO reiterated its intent to incorporate more former Soviet Republics closest to Russia.
Point 14: “We reiterate our support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova within their internationally recognized borders. In accordance with its international commitments, we call on Russia to withdraw the forces it has stationed in all three countries without their consent. We strongly condemn and will not recognize Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea.”
That is to say, NATO denies the will of 97% of the 83% of Crimeans who voted to reunite with Russia. NATO, however, does accept the U.S.’s illegal and unwanted occupation of a military base in Cuba—Guantanamo—where systematic torture has prevailed for the last two decades.
A week after Biden returned to his country, Great Britain transgressed Russian waters in the Black Sea. “Russian patrol vessels fired warning shots at an armed British warship after it breached Russian territorial waters this week. A SU-24 fighter jet dropped bombs in the path of the British destroyer apparently forcing it out of Russian waters,” wrote Finian Cunningham.
BBC reporter Jonathan Beale on board the aggressor warship HMS Defender (sic) contradicted Britain’s official excuse that its ship was engaged in “innocent passage.”
BBC surprisingly published what its reporter wrote: “I am on board the warship in the Black Sea. The crew were already at action stations as they approached the southern tip of Russian-occupied [sic] Crimea. Weapons systems on board the Royal Navy destroyer have already been loaded.
“This would be a deliberate move to make a point to Russia. HMS Defender was going to sail within the 12 mile limit of Crimea’s territorial waters.”
Antagonistic Ukrainian military chiefs were on the warship the day before when it docked in Odessa to sign new naval cooperation. That was the same date 80 years ago, on June 22, 1941, when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in its three-year long Operation Barbarossa.
That invasion was the largest in the history of the world. It started with 3.3 million Axis force invaders (5.5 million in all). They used 4,389 aircraft, 4,300 tanks, 600,000 motor vehicles and 600,000 horses.
One million Axis soldiers died. Five million Soviets (including Ukrainians) were killed through starvation of POWs, mass executions, gassings, and other means. During the entire war, 8-10 million Ukrainians were killed (five million civilians), starting when Germany invaded it as part of Operation Barbarossa. Approximately 27 million Soviets were killed during the war, including 16-18 million civilians. Some 72,000 towns and villages, and around five million houses, were destroyed.
Yet Britain, the U.S. and Ukraine ignored the 80th anniversary of Operation Barbarossa. In Berlin, at the German-Russian Museum, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke solemnly about the Nazis’ “murderous barbarism.” Ukraine’s ambassador, Andrij Melnyk, refused to attend the ceremony, calling it “an affront” with too much about Russian suffering. Russians were a large part of the “estimated 30 million people [who] were killed on the Eastern Front — far more than any other theater during World War II.”
Ukraine’s U.S.-backed, pro-fascist coup government recognizes a key Ukrainian fascist, Stepan Bandera, as its national hero. Bandera was responsible for murdering many thousands of Poles, Jews and anti-Nazi Ukrainians.
When Biden met with Putin in Geneva, his tone was not so friendly when he complained about Russian “incursions in the Ukraine,” “interfering” in U.S. elections, poisoning and imprisoning Alexei Navalny.
The opposition politician defied conditions of his terms of probation while serving a sentence for embezzlement. Russia let him travel to Germany for medical reasons even though he had received care in a Russian hospital. Navalny insisted that he had been poisoned by a nerve agent.
He overstayed his time away and used his position to attack President Putin for standing behind the alleged poisoning. No evidence that he was poisoned or that Russia was responsible has been offered to Russia or the world in general.
Without real evidence forthcoming about numerous allegations of Russian “crimes” against human rights and violations of Western countries’ sovereignty, Denmark’s war minister attempted to bolster Biden’s accusations shortly after he returned to the U.S.
Trine Bramsen met with Scandinavian colleagues at the Nordic Defense Corporation (NORDEFCO). She said the group shares “concerns about Russia’s very aggressive behavior.” “We will intensify our cooperation with a stronger common front aimed against Russia.”
Once again without showing any evidence, Bramsen claimed that Russian aircraft have twice flown over parts of Denmark within the last year. In one incident, Russian aircraft were pursuing a U.S. B-52, which had entered Russian territory, according to the Danish news agency, Ritzau.
Germany’s newspaper Die Zeit published President Putin’s opinion piece on the anniversary of Russia’s Great Patriotic War. In a diplomatic, straight-forward tone, the president expressed Russia’s hope following the Cold War that the World War II allies could make a “common victory for Europe.” Nevertheless, “a different approach prevailed … based on the expansion of NATO east,” which caused “mutual distrust.”
“Tensions are growing, and the risks of a new arms race are becoming real,” Putin lamented.
Denmark’s Massive, Systematic Spying Will Not Be Fully Disclosed or Changed
A secret committee was then established when the first disclosures came forth in August 2020. It was set up to investigate unspecified aspects of FE spying operations. This committee is to let a handful of politicians know what it is allowed to find out, but the media and the public have been warned they will not learn the results.
That was made clear by politicians to DR. Its judiciary reporter Trine Marie Ilsøee said, “We cannot expect that most of the possible illegalities committed will be made public.” She added that Denmark’s intelligence services are connected to and dependent upon foreign powers [i.e., the U.S. but not Europe]. “Denmark could be compromised if secrets were revealed. After all, intelligence services operate in secrecy.”
Some information of extensive illegalities committed by FE/NSA was summarized last August for the media by the Danish Intelligence Oversight Committee (TET).
A military whistleblower first reported on illegal espionage to the military leadership in May 2015. His reports to superiors were ignored. He waited four years before he revealed illegal spying to the Danish Intelligence Oversight Committee. This undermanned five-person civilian oversight committee, founded in 2014, has only eight employees and a pauper’s budget of $1.3 million. It has no power to question FE employees or even to see secret documents the FE wishes to hide.
The Defense Intelligence Service’s 2020 budget was $160 million. How the funds are used is secret to TET and the Parliament.
When DR first exposed some of this illegal spying, Defense Minister Bramsen suspended five FE leaders responsible. Under pressure from several political parties, and most likely the U.S., she reinstated them in different jobs at the same pay.
I have previously written about this unconstitutional and anti-democratic policy of aiding and abetting the United States against Europe.
“Denmark’s military allows the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on the nation’s Finance Ministry, Foreign Ministry, private weapons company Terma, the entire Danish population, and Denmark’s closest neighbors: Sweden, Norway, France, Germany and the Netherlands.”
Information that NSA acquired with the aid of FE was used to convince its government to buy Lockheed-Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter F-35 capable of carrying nuclear weapons, albeit Denmark forbids the possession of nuclear weapons on its territory.
“NSA and FE signed an agreement in 2008 that enables NSA to tap huge amounts of data sourced from Danish fiber-optic communication cables passing through Denmark. This metadata is stored by the Danish Defense Intelligence Service in a center built with NSA guidance and technical assistance on the small Danish island of Sandagergaard to which the NSA has access.”
“Sandagergaard is one of three Danish military-intelligence ‘listening posts’ which trawls through and analyzes global internet data, seeking information, for example, on what Terma, Denmark’s largest weapons firm, has. This is clearly an intrusion on capitalism’s basic principle and need for free-market competition.”
On September 24, DR published articles (and broadcast) reports exposing more illegal activity:
“FE may have violated one of the clear rules that apply to the Danish military and foreign intelligence service: FE is only set in the world to protect Denmark from external threats and to safeguard Danish interests abroad. FE may therefore only come into possession of Danish information by chance.”
“Fiber optic cables suck up and copy metadata, sms, chat, telephone calls, emails. The cables fetch data over Danish internet traffic, tapping into Russian communication, as well as German and other European countries’ internet world. Whatever this new equipment is, it probably is similar to or more advanced than XKEYSCORE, which Denmark also possesses…. Besides land-based electronic surveillance, there are hundreds of transoceanic submarine cables carrying information between many countries. For decades, Denmark has had a key European cable connected to the U.S., which NSA taps into. In addition, there are new submarine commercial cables.”
The latter are the first new subsea systems directly linking North America to Denmark and the Nordic region in 20 years.
NSA with FE “are deep inside and digging into some Danish industrial secrets, which is usually what we accuse the Chinese of doing all the time [Huawei],” Tobias Liebetrau, intelligence researcher for the Center for Military Studies at the University of Copenhagen, told DR.”
The first serious case of illegality exposed by a whistleblower was exposed in 2004. Major Frank Grevil was an analyst at the Defense Intelligence Service. It had concluded that there was no solid evidence that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. This information was forwarded to then-Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who lied to the public, stating he was “absolutely certain” Iraq had such weapons.
Grevil could not let this lie pass. On February 22, 2004, he anonymously leaked classified assessments to the press, and he resigned his service. Authorities found out that he had been the whistleblower and arrested him.
U.S. whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg came to Denmark to help his defense. The courts, nevertheless, found Grevil guilty of revealing state secrets and sentenced him to four months in prison, which he served.
PM Rasmussen was not arrested for war crimes or for lying to Parliament and the public. Instead, he convinced Parliament to declare war on Iraq, the only nation to do so.
It was the first time Denmark had declared war since 1864, then against Germany. Danes killed Iraqis and bombed their infrastructure. Eight Danish soldiers were killed, all because of a lie. The U.S. rewarded Rasmussen by appointing him to head NATO (2009-14).
There are ironies in these matters. First is the betrayal of Denmark’s long-standing friendly association with European countries and their leaders. Secondly, it has been Social Democrat women leaders who have been behind illegal spying activities, starting with the first SD woman who became Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt (2011-15).
Following Snowden’s 2013 revelations, she embraced her “comrade” Chancellor Angela Merkel, assuring her that Denmark was not and would not be involved in spying on her. All the while she was lying. Since June 2019, it has been the next Social Democrat woman PM, Mette Frederiksen, and her female war minister, Trine Bramsen, who have gone deeper into spying activities for their master state.
These so-called “social democrats”—who are usually referred to as “socialists” by Bernie Sanders, and “communists” by Donald Trump and other far-right Republicans—have sold out their country to the U.S. empire.
Following DR’s first FE/NSA exposé, I spoke on the telephone with DR foreign affairs editor Niels Kvale about the U.S. government’s threat to all journalists who reveal its “national security secrets.”
I told him that DR reporters could be prosecuted in the U.S. just as they seek to do with Julian Assange. Kvale replied: “I was not aware of that. This sounds interesting. Send me your article and I will inform our journalists.” That was the last I heard from DR, and there has been no follow-up.
Kvale’s silence is emblematic of that of Danes as a whole who have allowed their country to become a surveillance outpost and adjunct of the American empire.
In the process, they have sold their souls—for very little benefit in return.
Dunhammer in English means cattails or bulrush, which grow in bogs. “One particular famous story involving bulrushes is that of the ark of bulrushes” in the Book of Exodus. In this story, it is said that the infant Moses was found in a boat made of bulrushes. Within the context of the story, this is probably paper reed (Cyperus papyrus). “When fish make beds over bulrush, they sweep away the sand, exposing the roots. This dense region of roots provides excellent cover for young fish.” Operation Dunhammer could be Danish military intelligence spies’ metaphor for covering up its treachery against its own neighbor allies.Denmark is one of the U.S.’s closest “9 Eyes,” which also includes Norway and France, Germany and Sweden. That means that Denmark is U.S.’s lead Eye against other Eye allies: Germany, France, Norway and Sweden. The Nordic countries have the same original language and cultural roots, including having been the warring Vikings. Norway and Sweden were also under Danish colonial control for centuries. Five English-speaking countries (U.S., UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada) form “5 eyes.” Israel is suspected of being the sixth eye, but this has never been confirmed, just as its illegal nuclear bombs have never been officially acknowledged. ↑
Nor was there any reporting on the British extradition trial of this guardian for a truly free press. Furthermore, Danish media did not let the public know that a key witness for the U.S. revised charges against Assange, Sigurdur Ingi Thorarson, told an Icelandic daily that he lied to the FBI when they questioned him.The Icelandic citizen and former WikiLeaks volunteer, who became an FBI informant for $5,000, said he fabricated important parts of his accusations against Assange in the revised U.S. indictment. He also admitted that he misrepresented himself as an official WikiLeaks representative, that he stole $50,000 from the publisher, stole various documents and copied their hard drives for the FBI. ↑
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About the Author
Ron Ridenour is a U.S.-born author and journalist, anti-war and civil rights activist since 1961. After joining the U.S. Air Force at 17, he saw the inner workings of U.S. imperialism first hand and resigned. In the 1980s and 1990’s he worked with the Nicaraguan government and on Cuban national media.
He now lives in Denmark and, in addition to writing a dozen books, has served as a special correspondent and freelance investigative journalist for many publications in the U.S. and several Latin American and European countries—among them: The Morning Star, New Statesman, The Guardian (U.S. and England), Playboy, Liberation News Service, Pacific News Service, Coast Magazine, Qui, Skeptic, Seven Days, and Pacifica Radio.
CAM co-founder Philip Agee wrote commentaries to two of his dozen books: Yankee Sandinistas: Interviews with North Americans Living and Working in the New Nicaragua, and Backfire: CIA’s Biggest Burn. See also: The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert and Winding Brook Stories at Amazon and Lulu. Other work can be found at ronridenour.com.
Ron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.