Historic victory for environmentalists Keystone XL oil pipeline abandoned

This is a major victory in the fight against global warming.

A tenacious campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline has prevailed. The environmental forces are emboldened and will continue their relentless campaign to block the spread of fossil fuels technology and the construction which enables it.

Wall Street Journal 6.9.2021

The Keystone XL cancellation marks a historic victory for environmentalists who for a decade have made the project the focus of a campaign to block new pipeline construction as a way to limit oil consumption that contributes to global warming.

Native American protestors rode horses into a construction site for the Dakota Access pipeline on August 27, 2016. The now abandoned pipeline was slated to extend from North Dakota to Illinois, carrying crude oil. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe filed an injunction against the US Army Corps of Engineers in federal court in Washington DC, claiming the Army Corps did not take tribal spiritual and heritage sites into consideration when it granted permits for the pipeline.

Canada’s TC Energy Corp. TRP 0.59% and the Albertan provincial government said Wednesday they would scuttle the Keystone XL oil pipeline project, bringing to an end a yearslong controversy over an effort to pipe more Canadian crude to the U.S.

The decision had been expected after President Biden used his first day in office to revoke a key permit for the pipeline to cross the country’s northern border, shutting down construction.

Groups like 350.org, which targeted Keystone XL, are also pressuring Wall Street to curb fossil-fuel extraction and were a force behind activist investors winning board seats at Exxon Mobil Corp. earlier this month.

Environmental groups called TC’s decision a landmark moment and 350.org pointed to its own history of leading sit-ins against Keystone XL in front of the White House. It said it would work to defeat more pipelines.

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Aborted XL Keystone pipeline

“When this fight began, people thought Big Oil couldn’t be beat,’’ said Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org. “But when enough people rise up, we’re stronger even than the richest fossil-fuel companies.”

TC Energy gave little explanation for its final decision in a Wednesday news release. It alluded to Mr. Biden’s decision and said it had completed a comprehensive review of its options before making the final decision to terminate the project. It said that going forward it would build its businesses in shipping and storing natural gas, liquid fuels and power to meet growing North American demand for cleaner fuels.

“We value the strong relationships we’ve built through the development of this Project and the experience we’ve gained,” TC Energy Chief Executive François Poirier said.


Mr. Biden’s permit cancellation was a major setback for Canadian oil producers and the Canadian government, which had urged Mr. Biden to help salvage the $8 billion project immediately after his election. Keystone XL has been mired in court challenges and left in limbo by shifting U.S. political leadership since it was initially proposed in 2008.

That was a time of record oil prices, and the pipeline was pitched as a key artery to eventually bring 830,000 barrels a day of Canadian crude from Alberta to Nebraska and then to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Since then, Canadian oil producers have been rocked by falling oil prices and the government had doubled down on getting approval for the project as a lifeline for the industry.

But Mr. Biden agreed with environmentalists who said opening that avenue for more crude into the U.S. conflicted with a need to respond to climate change by shifting to cleaner sources of energy. He said allowing the project to go ahead would undercut the country’s international credibility as Mr. Biden tried to push other countries to lower their greenhouse-gas emissions.

“We remain disappointed and frustrated with the circumstances surrounding the Keystone XL project, including the cancellation of the presidential permit for the pipeline’s border crossing,” said Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta. The province had invested $1.1 billion in the project and will now have to swallow the cost. The government said it would continue to explore its options to recoup its money.

Keystone VIII 6.9.2021

Mr. Biden ’s decision, which reversed the pipeline’s approval first given by former President Donald Trump, came before TC Energy could finish construction in the U.S. It promptly suspended construction, saying it would cut more than 1,000 construction jobs.

Mr. Biden’s critics decried the layoffs and several Republican states launched a lawsuit to overturn it. It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen to that lawsuit.

“It’s a disgrace President Biden played politics and killed the Keystone XL Pipeline,” said Austin Knudsen, the attorney general in Montana, the lead plaintiff—along with the Texas attorney general—of 23 states. “The pipeline would have enhanced America’s energy independence while bringing much needed jobs, tax revenue, and economic development to rural communities in Montana and across the country.”

Keystone III 10.31.2019


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October 2019 – 383,00 gallons of oil leaked from Keystone Pipeline

Relationships are what it’s all about. More than just obtaining a Permit

Lee Heidhues 6.8.2021
I am familiar with the ways of the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection professionally and personally.
On a personal level, I have learned the hard way less benign inner workings of DBI. Third parties and other City government agencies have utilized the system to benefit themselves and harm my family.
DBI historically has been thought of as a place where the well-connected can get their way. My own experiences have reinforced this opinion.
Relationships are what it’s all about in San Francisco. People who need special services hire so called “expeditors” or, on occasion, deal directly with DBI. The motives are not always benign. The goal is more than just obtaining a Permit.

San Francisco Chronicle -J.K. Dineen – 6.8.2021

A senior San Francisco building inspector has been placed on administrative leave after he allegedly failed to report a loan from a politically connected developer for whom he had performed multiple inspections.

Senior Building Inspector Bernard Curran (pictured above right) came under scrutiny last month after admitting that he had accepted a $180,000 loan from Freydoon Ghassemzadeh, whose family business, SIA Consulting, has been one of the city’s most prolific developers in recent years, according to City Hall sources and public documents.

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State records show that in March of 2020 Curran neglected to disclose the loan in his annual Form 700, a state filing that requires public officials to disclose economic interests. In a March 25 email to Human Resources Director Michele Nieve that was sent along with the form, Curran wrote “I do not have any economic interests so I believe this is all I have to fill out.” A year later — in April of this year, after being questioned by the city attorney — he amended the paperwork to include the loan.

It’s also not clear whether he intended to pay back the loan, which he said in the April disclosure had a five-year term and an interest rate of 6%.

The loan was discovered during an ongoing investigation of corruption in the Department of Building Inspection by the city attorney’s Public Integrity Unit.

City Attorney’s Office spokesman John Cote said he could not “provide details about an ongoing investigation.”

“I can say that throughout this corruption investigation, including at the Department of Building Inspection, our focus has been on rooting out contractors and employees who abuse the public trust,” he said.

The investigation comes amid a widespread investigation into corruption in San Francisco City Hall, a multi-agency probe that has so far led to the indictment of former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru and former Public Utilities Commission wGeneral Manager Harlan Kelly.

At the building inspection department, the city attorney’s probe led to the resignation of Tom Hui (pictured above left), the former director, as well as a settlement with former permit expediter Walter Wong that bars him from acting as a permit expediter for five years.

“Our investigation did not stop there,” said Cote.

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Department of Building Inspection Director of Communications Patrick Hannan said that new leadership at the beleaguered agency is committed to “rooting out corruption and bad actors preying on the building industry and betraying the public’s trust, whether they be in the private or public sector.”

“We have partnered with the city attorney’s Public Integrity Unit on an investigation into employees suspected of corruption and have recently placed one of those people on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation,” Hannan said.

It’s not clear whether Curran, who has been with the department since 2005, gave the developer preferential treatment in exchange for the loan. Curran was the final inspector to sign off on several of SIA Consulting’s projects. In February of 2018, he approved a four-bedroom renovation at 708 Buchanan St., a seismic upgrade project that converted the basement into a four-bedroom apartment, and added bedrooms on the second and third floors, according to public records.

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DBI Inspector Bernie Curran approved project at 3005-3007 San Bruno Avenue

In 2019, Curran approved three inspections of a seismic retrofit job at 3005-3007 San Bruno Ave., a project that included adding an additional bedroom and three bathrooms to an existing three-bedroom, one-bath unit.

The agent for both projects was Behmann Ghassemzadeh, the son of Freydoon Ghassemzadeh.

Calls to Curran’s home phone were not answered. It was not clear if he has legal representation. A message left with Freydoon Ghassemzadeh was unreturned by the time of publication.

Hannan said his agency and the city attorney have launched an investigation to see if the work the inspector signed off on — some of which was outside of the district he was in charge of — violated city codes.

“We have also teamed up with the City Attorney’s Office on an auditing initiative to review the work performed by these bad actors and are implementing a series of reform initiatives to improve our business practices, increase transparency and enhance accountability,” Hannan said.

Cote said that since taking over the department in March 2020 after the departure of Hui, Interim Director Patrick O’Riordan has “shown true cooperation with our investigation, and we’re hopeful about the changes we see in the top leadership at DBI, as well as their willingness and ability to hold staff accountable.”


Hit-Run Vandalism Crimes Debase Slow Streets San Francisco

Liz Heidhues – Blog Contributor 6.7.2021

Unpack the Carnage being wreaked upon Slow Streets Cabrillo by enraged Drivers turned to anarchists in their efforts to bully the city and the pedestrians, bicyclists, joggers, kids, people in wheelchairs, pets and urban wildlife from using Slow Streets for an essential recreational sanctuary and place to socialize.

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Slow Street signage destruction

The crimes of hit-and-run and vandalism occurring daily at intersection after intersection of Slow Streets Cabrillo are documented in this photo montage.

The Definition of Misdemeanor Hit-and-Run includes damage to property by Drivers who flee the scene.

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Vandalism of Slow Street signage at 41st Avenue and Cabrillo as runner passes by

The legal Definition of Vandalism includes willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public property.

The crimes upon Slow Streets Cabrillo are being fueled by our addiction to the automobile and the sense of entitlement that Motorists driving on the streets of San Francisco monopolize. The Motorists feel that the rules do not apply to them.

Motorists blatantly violating “Road Closed” signage at 35th Avenue and Cabrillo

Here is a blatant example of an Act of Bullying of a pedestrian by a Motorist on Slow Streets Cabrillo at the intersection of 40 th Avenue & Cabrillo. The pedestrian happened to be Me.

While documenting the Wreckage of a Slow Streets barrier by the dual crimes of hit-and-run and vandalism, I heard a car pull up and stop behind my back.

Young cyclist enjoys Slow Street Cabrillo

I turned around and faced the unfriendly visage of a guy behind the wheel of a car going in the opposite direction to the lane in which I was standing.

The Driver’s window was rolled down.

Slow Street vandalism at 37th Avenue and Cabrillo

The hand gripping the steering wheel had a cigarette dangling from its fingers.

“Why doncha just move the thing instead of taking pictures of it?” the Driver taunted me from his opened window.

Walking the dog on Slow Street Cabrillo

I had no words to respond. I could only look back into the guy’s face. I felt uncertain about what he might do next.

Abruptly the Driver started up his car and sped off.

Memorial to motorist killed by hit and run driver 33rd Avenue and Cabrillo

He drove rapidly, past the mangled Slow Streets barrier I was photographing and arrogantly past the succession of all the other Slow Streets’ barriers in the distance.

The Motorist continued down Slow Streets Cabrillo in total defiance of the signage directing “Road Closed to Traffic” and the 15-mph speed limit designated for Slow Streets.

I watched the car with black-and-yellow Nevada license plates disappear off the Horizon.

Neighborhood cat walking across Slow Street on Cabrillo

After being taunted to move a mass of broken wood and twisted metal that had been left behind by the Hit-and-Run Crime of a Driver of a two-ton vehicle that kills and maims, I couldn’t give a hoot if the Driver was from out-of-state or local.

Bird slain by motorist on Cabrillo Street
5 Slow Streets Cabrillo 5.24.2021
Neighbors enjoying Slow Street Cabrillo
Motorist blatantly violating Slow Street Cabrillo driving by vandalized signage






“I’m good. I’m good.” Nervous moment high in the sky for VP Kamala Harris

Everyone has experienced flight delays.  

It’s news when it happens to the Vice President. After having her first foreign trip briefly aborted in midair on Sunday Kamala Harris commented to the media, “We all said a little prayer, but we’re good.”

I’m sure the Oakland, California native didn’t expect her trip to Guatemala to begin in such tumultuous fashion.

NDTV 6.6.2021

Washington DC 

US Vice President Kamala Harris’s plane was forced to land soon after take-off on Sunday due to a technical problem on her way to Guatemala for her first international trip.

“I’m good. I’m good,” Harris told reporters, giving a thumbs-up after exiting the plane when it returned to Joint Base Andrews on the outskirts of Washington. “We all said a little prayer, but we’re good.”

Kamala Harris waves to the crowd after making an emergency return to Joint Base Andrews

The vice president switched planes, and a pool report said she arrived safely in Guatemala Sunday evening. Her spokeswoman Symone Sanders said that no major delays in her itinerary were expected.

The crew “noticed the landing gear was not storing as it should which could lead to further mechanical issues. While there was no immediate safety issue, out of an abundance of caution, they returned to Joint Base Andrews,” Symone Sanders said.

A journalist onboard reported “an unusual noise” from the landing gear when the plane — known as Air Force Two — took off, but said that the landing was “completely normal.”

Harris will visit Guatemala and Mexico this week, intending to bring a message of hope to a region hammered by Covid-19 and which is the source of most of the undocumented migrants seeking entry to the United States.

Harris is taking her first trip abroad as President Joe Biden’s deputy with an eye towards tackling the root causes of migration from the region — one of the thorniest issues facing the White House.

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VP Kamala Harris exits Air Force Two after emergency landing


The historic ‘Durag’ fashion thrust into a world of political correctness

So, what?  Lee Heidhues 6.5.2021

I totally get it that people need to be careful when they talk so that there are no racial or sexual overtones. That’s good in a society which prides itself on being open and inclusive.

However this striving for political correctness can go way overboard.

Amazon Diamondbacks announcer and former manager Bob Brenly has taken a leave of absence for making an ostensibly racially offensive remark.  What did he say?  In speaking of Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman’s (pictured above) headgear Brenly commented on air, “Pretty sure that’s the same durag that Tom Seaver (the late Hall of Fame pitcher) used to wear when he pitched for the Mets.”


CBS News 6.4.2021Phoenix — Arizona Diamondbacks broadcaster Bob Brenly is stepping away from the booth over the next week after facing backlash for an on-air comment about New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman’s headwear.

Brenly, working for Bally Sports Arizona, made the remark during the fourth inning of the Diamondbacks’ 6-5 victory in 10 innings at home Tuesday night.

“Pretty sure that’s the same durag that Tom Seaver used to wear when he pitched for the Mets,” Brenly said.


CBSSports.com’s R.J. Anderson reports that Stroman, after learning of Brenly’s comments, responded on Twitter after the game.

First, he suggested that his HDHM apparel brand would soon begin selling durags.

Then Stroman wrote, “Onward and upward … through all adversity and racist undertones. The climb continues through all!”

Anderson says Brenly had apologized on Wednesday. “During last night’s game, I made a poor attempt at humor that was insensitive and wrong,” he said in a statement. “I apologize to Marcus Stroman and have reached out directly to share those thoughts.

“I have had several conversations with the D-Backs and we agree that seeking sensitivity training is an important step so that I can continue to learn from my mistakes in order to be better in the future.”

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Diamondbacks pitcher Jon Duplantier, who also is Black, said he found Brenly’s comment about Stroman disappointing.

Brenly wasn’t in the booth for Thursday night’s game.

Brenly managed the Diamondbacks to the 2001 World Series championship in his first season guiding the team.


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Cruel and Unusual Punishment. US Court denies Ghislaine Maxwell bail

Ghislaine Maxwell, the close associate of Jeffrey Epstein, has been in jail nearly a year accused of numerous crimes.

The punishment Ghislaine Maxwell has been subjected to could be called cruel and unusual. In the latest chapter of Justice in America, a Federal Court of Appeals has denied her Motion to be released on Bail until her trial.

The Guardian 6.2.2021

Ghislaine Maxwell will remain in a New York jail after a federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected the British socialite’s latest request for bail.

The second US circuit court of appeals in Manhattan also denied Maxwell’s request for a hearing on what her lawyers called “horrific” confinement conditions at the Metropolitan detention center in Brooklyn. It did not explain its reasons.

Maxwell, 59, faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted over her alleged role in procuring four underage girls for the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.

She has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and other charges. A trial in Manhattan is slated for November, delayed from a previous schedule of this July.

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US Attorney for the Southern District of New  York Audrey Strauss

Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on separate charges. The appeals court also denied bail for Maxwell in April.

“Ghislaine Maxwell is subjected to more grueling conditions than any other inmate” at the Brooklyn jail, her lawyer David Markus said in an email. “This is due to the Epstein effect. Because Epstein died on the jail’s watch, it has decided to torture Ghislaine. That’s wrong.”

This was her fifth failed attempt to win bail. The appeals court had rejected a bail request once before and her trial judge had thrice said no.

Her lawyers have gradually increased the terms of a proposed bail package, saying Maxwell and friends and family would put up $28.5m.

They also say Maxwell, a US citizen, would agree to 24-hour armed guards, an electronic bracelet and renounce her citizenship in England and France.

All to no avail.

Maxwell’s lawyers added that she cannot properly prepare for trial because of sleep deprivation, a lack of potable water, a sewage stench in her cell, an inability to meet privately with her lawyers or keep jail guards from reviewing her confidential materials, and an underpowered computer to review evidence.

A spokesman for US attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan and a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons declined to comment.

Maxwell’s trial judge, US district judge Alison Nathan, has rejected bail three times, calling Maxwell a significant flight risk.

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Ghislaine Maxwell in Court to hear her Bail request is denied – 6.2.2021


Photo above – Ghislaine Maxwell in Court in 2021 and before her arrest in July 2020














Native American victory. Supremes rule Tribal Police Can Search Non-Indians

In many areas the increasingly conservative US Supreme Court has rolled back civil rights and voting rights.  However, when it comes to Native Americans whose land was decimated and people slaughtered in the quest for the white man’s Manifest Destiny in the 19th Century, the Supreme Court seems to realize a terrible wrong was done.  

Several decisions have recognized the rights of the original Native Americans.

Better late than never.

Excerpted from The Oklahoman and The Wall Street Journal 6.1.2021

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that tribal police officers with sufficient cause can stop and search non-Indians traversing reservations, the latest in several recent decisions that in ways large and small have affirmed limited sovereignty for Native American nations.

Last July, the court ruled that Congress never dissolved five tribal reservations encompassing much of eastern Oklahoma, putting in question the state-court convictions of Indians for crimes committed in the territory. In 2019, the court held that Indian hunting rights remained intact despite the advent of Wyoming statehood in 1890. (U.S. v. Cooley)

Stephen Greetham, an attorney for the Chickasaw Nation, said Tuesday: “The Supreme Court’s recognition of both the competence and authority of tribal police to protect public safety is heartening. The ruling is sound on the law and smart on the facts.”

Cherokee Nation Attorney General Sara Hill said Tuesday that the decision “makes it clear that tribal officers can stop and search non-Indians on public highways within that tribe’s reservation and, if necessary, seize evidence of a crime and detain or transport the offender to turn over to the proper prosecuting authority. 

“The non-Indians must be tried in state or federal courts, depending on the crime, but tribal police can make the initial stop and hold the offender until federal or state police arrive or transport the offender to the proper federal or state authorities under the tribe’s own inherent authority on its reservation. That makes everyone safer. No one would want a tribal police officer to be required to let a drunk driver back on the highway because he or she was a non-Indian.”

Indian tribes have jurisdiction over Indians for crimes committed on reservations, but non-Indians typically fall under the authority of federal or state authorities. Reasoning that a non-Indian’s 2016 drug arrest in Montana stemmed from a tribal officer’s investigation, federal trial and appellate courts threw out the conviction.

Tuesday’s decision, however, found that tribes hold basic authority on reservations to safeguard the welfare of their members, including the legal power to make safety checks on suspicious cars stopped along the public right-of-way.

Tribes “lack inherent sovereign power to exercise criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the court, or even to “regulate hunting and fishing by non-Indians on land that non-Indians own” on a reservation. Congress holds the ultimate power over tribal authority, the court has held.

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But in decisions tracing to the republic’s early years, the Supreme Court has on occasion recognized the dependent sovereignty the tribes retained. Justice Breyer recalled an 1832 opinion by Chief Justice John Marshall affirming Cherokee prerogatives against encroachment from the state of Georgia.

Although European conquest made them subject to the crown and, now, Congress, “the Indian nations had always been considered as distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original natural rights as the undisputed possessors of the soil from time immemorial,” Chief Justice Marshall wrote.

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More recently, a 1981 opinion noted that a tribe “may also retain inherent power to exercise civil authority over the conduct of non-Indians on fee lands within its reservation when that conduct threatens or has some direct effect on the political integrity, the economic security, or the health or welfare of the tribe.”

The officer put Mr. Cooley and his child in the patrol car and called for backup. Officer Saylor searched the truck, finding a glass pipe and a bag containing methamphetamine. Tribal, county and federal officers soon arrived, and Mr. Cooley ultimately was convicted of federal narcotics charges.

While the Crow tribe lacked authority to prosecute Mr. Cooley, its officers were empowered “to search and detain for a reasonable time any person he or she believes may commit or has committed a crime” and turn the suspect over to federal or state officers, the court said.


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Apple Pie, Memorial Day and Baseball. Pursuing Justice. Pursuing Victory.

Liz Heidhues – Master baker, photographer and blog contributor – 5.31.2021

How American can we eat?

When the Pandemic and skyrocketing legal fees for a Pursuit of Justice render bare a senior couple’s cupboard, help is just around the corner. The San Francisco Marin Food Bank makes certain no senior citizens go wanting.  The selection from the Food Bank is unprocessed and it is healthy. It requires cooking, baking, or a deft touch to be made into satisfying, nutritious recipes. At the End of the Day a little elbow grease and devotion turns out mouth watering masterpieces.  This plethora of apples from The Food Bank ended up in a Memorial Day pie.   Made from scratch apple pie celebrates Mom (the cook), Memorial Day and the San Francisco Giants.  Memorial Day 2021 the San Francisco Giants win for the sixth time in the last seven games. The Giants are now in first place in the National League West. The local boys will prevail in their Pursuit of Victory. Go Giants. Go Justice!!

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King Arthur Baking Co. Organic Unbleached flour. 100% employee owned.
5 Apple Pie
1/4″ apple slices ensure uniform baking.
The apples are mixed with Baker’s Sugar, flour, Meyer lemon juice, Vietnamese Cinnamon, pinch sea salt.
Dough scraper (left of rolling pin) easily unsticks rolled-out dough
Apple pie bakes to perfect in ancient Wedgewood stove.
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Louisville Slugger bat, Rawlings baseball and ready to eat Apple pie

Top photo. Hall of Famer Willie Lee McCovey Bobblehead. Nicknamed “Stretch”. Left handed power hitter.


“I consider this a scandal” Germans react to Danish/USA cyber spying by NATO ally

During the Cold War days spying between the US and Russia was part of the game. A whole genre of movies and books told the real life story in fiction form.

Now that the Cold War is, at least officially, over the spies need to justify their existence and continue creating more invasive tools of surveillance.  So, it comes as no surprise that the American National Security Agency (NSA) for years spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  What is, perhaps, surprising is that Denmark thought to be a quiet NATO member was a main player in this cyber espionage.

Deutsche Welle 5.30.2021

An investigation has uncovered that Denmark’s secret service helped the US to spy on German politicians. It’s not the first time there have been reports of the NSA monitoring German leaders, but it is the first time Denmark has been named as a direct partner.

Denmark’s secret service helped the US National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a European media investigation published on Sunday revealed.

How was the Danish government involved?

The Danish government knew of the involvement of their country’s secret service in the NSA scandal by 2015 at the latest.

They began to collect information on the FE’s cooperation with the NSA between 2012 and 2014 in the secret Dunhammer report following the disclosures by the former NSA employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden, NDR reported.

The information they gathered made it clear that the FE had helped the NSA to spy on leading politicians in Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and France, as well as Germany.

Danish intelligence also helped the US agency to spy on the Danish foreign and finance ministries as well as a Danish weapons manufacturer. The FE also cooperated with the NSA on spying operations against the US government itself.

Upon discovering exactly how far the cooperation between the two countries’ intelligence services went, the Danish government forced the entire leadership of the FE to step down in 2020.

What drove Danish spies to help the NSA?

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A Danish expert in secret service operations Thomas Wegener Friis believes that the FE was faced with a choice about which global partners to work more closely with.

“They made a clear decision to work with the Americans and against their European partners,” he told NDR.

Patrick Sensburg, who led the German parliamentary committee to investigate the NSA spying scandal, was not surprised by the news. For the lawmaker from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), it is important to understand what drives secret services.

“It’s not about friendships. It’s not about moral-ethical aspirations. It’s about pursuing interests,” he told NDR.

The NSA, FE and Danish defense ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the research, however, a general statement from the defense ministry said that “a systematic bugging of close allies is unacceptable.”

The disclosure that the US had been spying on its allies first started coming to light in 2013, but it is only now that journalists have gained access to reports detailing the support given to the NSA by the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE).

The report showed that Germany’s close ally and neighbor cooperated with US spying operations that targeted the chancellor and president.

The then chancellor candidate for the German center-left socialist party (SPD), Peer Steinbrück, was also a target, the new report disclosed.

Secret service sources passed on the information to a team including Danish, Swedish and Norwegian broadcasters (DR, SVT and NRK respectively), as well as the French newspaper Le Monde, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and German public broadcasters NDR and WDR.

How did German officials react?

Steinbrück spoke to the German members of the research team upon finding out about the spying operations against him.

“Politically, I consider this a scandal,” Steinbrück said. While he accepted that western states require functioning intelligence services, the fact that Danish authorities had been spying on their partners showed “that they are rather doing things on their own.”

Neither Merkel nor Steinmeier had “any knowledge” of the spying operations carried out by leading Danish government officials. A spokesperson said that the chancellor had been informed of the revelations.

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