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DANISH GOVERNMENT IN PARLIAMENT: ECHELON EXISTS - THEY'RE BUGGING US - AND WE WON'T TRY TO STOP IT - Sigint/Surveillance/Denmark



Printed in Ekstra Bladet, Denmark, dec. 10. 1999

HEAR NO EVIL  - SEE NO EVIL
The Danish Parliament acknowledges that the US performs surveillance in
Denmark. 

Echelon exists. The Danish Parliament and Government have now
admitted this fact. At the same time however they have decided not to
investigate the global surveillance system's infringements of Danish law
and the Danish Constitution - and the infringements of the human rights of
Danish citizens.
That is a concise summation of Thursday's parliamentary debate on
Echelon's surveillance and monitoring. The Danish Parliament and
Government have now assured the people of Denmark that we must expect to
be listened in on and monitored every single time we lift the telephone
receiver or go on the Internet with our computers - and that they will do
nothing about it. 
"The only thing that can be done is to use powerful encryption," says
Minister of Defense Hans Hækkerup.
In other words, a very meager day for democracy in Denmark.
The Unity Party and the Socialist People's Party had summoned the question
and answer session on Echelon. Specifically, the two parties wished to
have the Government provide an accounting on the parliamentary control
with this extensive surveillance. The two parties were the only parties in
Parliament with this wish however.

SO WHAT?
Ekstra Bladet met Arne Melchior (Center Democrat) in the hall outside the
session room after the debate. Melchior felt like crooning from the podium
of the parliament - 'Look to me, look to you, and then take a little
listen' - but refused to support a demand that the Government maps out the
surveillance taking place and which the Danish Parliament now accepts is
taking place.
"We know they are listening. So what? We can't do anything about it
anyway, can we?"
Even so, one could choose to make it a matter of principle and say we will
not accept that the USA infringes on the Danish constitution and
administration of justice act?
"PRINCIPLE?!? How dare you talk to me about principle!" shouted Arne
Melchior, who finished by saying "Shut up!" before walking away.
We were merely asking.

ECHELON IS 'PROBABLE'
We also met Minister of Defense Hans Hækkerup (Social democrat) in the
lunch break from the surveillance debate.
Have you read Ekstra Bladet's numerous articles about Echelon?
"I can't say I have read all of them."
Do you have objections to anything we have written?
"I think that some of the assertions sound somewhat improbable," replies
the Minister of Defense before hurrying on down the stairs with his four
tie-wearing adjutants, or whatever they are.
One of the things that apparently is no longer so improbable is the very
existence of the surveillance system. Back in the Parliament chamber,
Minister of Defense Hans Hækkerup said from the podium:
"Does such a system exist? I have no concrete knowledge that it does. But
I think its existence is highly probable." 
Elisabeth Arnold from the other of the two government parties (Radical
Liberal) goes even further.
"I have no doubt that Echelon exists."

BY: BO ELKJÆR AND KENAN SEEBERG
COPYRIGHT 1999. EKSTRA BLADET - COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

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