On Illegal Surveillance in Denmark

8-17-09, 9:40 am

Some information on the secret and illegal practice of the intelligence service of the Danish police 1945-1989 In June 1999 the Danish Parliament decided to form a commission to investigate if the Danish intelligence service had acted according to the law and to what the Danish government had stated publicly.

The background was that the Danish Minister of Justice back in 1968 had declared in the parliament, that the Police Intelligence Service was no more allowed to register Danish citizens solely on legal political activities. The commission was to investigate if this declaration had been followed by the police.

In June this year the report of the committee was published – a very large report in 15 volumes and in total more than 4.000 pages describing the work of the secret service of the police during the period 1945-1989.

Not astonishing the committee concluded that the police had acted correctly. But by reading the report, everybody can see that this conclusion is in no way correct.

Even though the conclusions of the committee are not very serious, the report as such is quite interesting.

Some of the evidences in the report are:

The police followed very closely the political activities of especially the Danish Communist Party and the Danish Communist Youth organization. All leading members were registered by the police, the police tried sometimes successfully to place agents centrally inside the party, the police tried to bug the party's headquarter, telephones were bugged, the secrecy of mail was violated, etc. This practice was followed during the all period even though the Minister of Justice in 1968 had stated that legal political activities should not be investigated by the police.

Not just members of the communist party were followed closely by the Danish police. Also non-members attending public meetings organized by the communist party ended up in the secret files of the police. The same did persons who signed petitions, etc., of the party.

It was not just the communist party that was kept under so close surveillance. The same thing happened to other left wing organizations including trade unions, the peace movement, solidarity organizations, organizations for friendship with the Soviet Union, the GDR etc., and even the politically broad Public Movement against the EU was spied on.

People who sailed on the ferry from Copenhagen to Warnemunde in the former GDR had systematically their passports photographed by the police, and the same thing happened to tourists traveling to other of the former socialist countries.

We the communists have always been aware of the illegal work of the Danish Police Intelligence Service. Others have accused us of being paranoid. But the report shows that it was not the communists but the police and other authorities who suffered from paranoia!

In total more than 300.000 persons ended up in the secret archives of the police in a small country as Denmark with now about 5.5 million inhabitants!

Other interesting findings in the report are that the Danish police did not work alone. A very close cooperation with the CIA and other foreign intelligence services are described.

Parts of the large report are rather funny as they show how amateurish and ignorantly the police very often worked. For many years the police made very big effort of finding hidden weapons among the communist - but without success as there were none to find as it is not a part of the policy of the communists to plan an armed revolution at the moment!

The police had had the idea that the communist party beside its open and public organization had also had a hidden and secret organization with a secret leadership, etc. The fact is that the communist party was not so big that it would be possible to, so to speak, duplicate its leadership with a secret one! The party having such an idea is just a result of the police own imagination.

Especially the policy was very interested in finding Danish communists who were working as agents for the Soviet Union or the GDR. Of course these countries had agents as all countries do. But the most stupid thing to do for a foreign intelligence organization would be to use local communists as agents, since everybody knew that they were under constant surveillance.

The report describes how the intelligence system worked in Denmark – but it might be interesting to others as the methods used in Denmark undoubtedly were used in many other countries.

--Authored by the Communist Party of Denmark.