FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Welcome to Norway

Norway – as its former, Christian Democratic, prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, once claimed – is a nation of peace. Norway is small, the prime minister admitted, but would show a big heart. And at times it really seems as if Norwegian prime ministers have assumed the international role that Olof Palme, at least according to the Swedish self-image, once played. Norway wishes to be a moral model and a moral actor, ranging from the Oslo accords of the 1990s to various peace-negotiating missions in current wars.

Erling Borgen, a Norwegian journalist and producer of documentary films, disagrees In his recent book, The Secrets of the Nation of Peace, Borgen describes some extremely belligerent activities where Norway is engaged. In Afghanistan, Norwegian elite soldiers work side by side with US Special operations forces in “cleaning-up operations”. No Norwegian troops were sent to Iraq, but Norwegian weapons producer Nammo is providing the US, Canada and Australia with bullets and gunpowder, worth 400 million Norwegian crowns (some 80 million US dollars) to be used \ in Iraq. Norwegian DYNO-Nobel enjoys a monopoly, delivering high-explosive ammunition for all US-produced Hellfire rockets which have been put to use both in Iraq and Afghanistan and by Israel in its attacks against Palestine civilians. Norwegian-made radar was delivered to the US just in time for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

As do most civilized nations Norway abhors the refugee camp at Guantánamo Bay – and peace price winner Obama has of course promised to dismantle it. Less known is the fact that the big Norwegian firm Aker-Kvaerner until 2006 was in charge of maintenance on Guantánamo, taking care of water and sewage – and fuelling planes delivering inmates from other secret prisons around the world. “We used to call them the Smurfs”, says a former Guantánamo prisoner, referring to the Aker-Kvaerner workers, most of them Filipinos, all dressed in blue look-alike uniforms who took care of practical matters at Guantánamo – such as building the cells where presumed terrorists, among them the Swede Mehdi Gezali, have ben held. A Kvaerner subsidiary, Eureka, also produces components to an American weapons system involving   cluster bombs whose many small parts cause traumatic damage, particularly when hitting humans.

There have been doubts. Thorbjörn Jagland, the former leader of the Norwegian Social Democratic Arbeiderparti, presently chair of the Norwegian Storting´s (Parliament) Nobel committé which awarded Barack Obama the Peace price, felt in the 1990s that it might not be a good idea for the Norwegian state-owned Statoil company to get involved with the former Soviet oil republic, Azerbaijan. Lately, Jagland has been declining to  comment, and Statoil has become much more involved. The only reason for Norway to show some pride over Azerbaijan, says Erling Borgen, is former Norwegian ambassador Steinar Gil who spent much of his time rescuing persecuted members of the opposition.

Things like these have happened before. Norwegian politicians have a tradition of helping their natural allies. In 1960, Jens Christian Hauge, military leader of Norway´s wartime, convinced the Arbeiderparti government to allow the export of Norwegian heavy water to Israel for its nuclear arms production.

Borgen, the author of The Secrets of the Nation of Peace, considers the peace price for Obama an award for good intentions – as if the Nobel price for literature would be awarded a young writer promising to write a very good book sometime in the future. But is it really Obama´s promises, the hope that he will carry out a totally different American agenda, which has rendered him the prize? In actual fact, there seems to be a meeting of minds. Norwegian politicians are truly convinced that peace is being promoted in   Afghanistan. That is also what the left-wing Socialist Venstreparti thinks. Its leader until recently was the minister of finance in the current red-green coalition government. As long as the party stayed in opposition, it was also opposed to Norway´s engagement in the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today also Sosialistisk Venstre supports the US war. And Norwegian arms exports are doing fine, thank you.

BJÖRN KUMM is a journalist living in  Malmö, Sweden. He can be reached at kumm@telia.com

 

 

 

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
September 20, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Unipolar Governance of the Multipolar World
Rob Urie
Strike for the Environment, Strike for Social Justice, Strike!
Miguel Gutierrez
El Desmadre: The Colonial Roots of Anti-Mexican Violence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
Andrew Levine
Why Democrats Really Should Not All Get Along But Sometimes Must Anyway
Louis Proyect
A Rebellion for the Wild West
T.J. Coles
A Taste of Their Own Medicine: the Politicians Who Robbed Iranians and Libyans Fear the Same for Brexit Britain
H. Bruce Franklin
How We Launched Our Forever War in the Middle East
Lee Hall
Mayor Obedience Training, From the Pet Products Industry
Louis Yako
Working in America: Paychecks for Silence
Michael D. Yates
Radical Education
Jonathan Cook
Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage Before He Exits?
Valerie Reynoso
The Rising Monopoly of Monsanto-Bayer
John Steppling
American Psychopathy
Ralph Nader
25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality
Vincent Emanuele
Small Town Values
John Feffer
The Threat of Bolton Has Retreated, But Not the Threat of War
David Rosen
Evangelicals, Abstinence, Abortion and the Mainstreaming of Sex
Judy Rohrer
“Make ‘America’ White Again”: White Resentment Under the Obama & Trump Presidencies
John W. Whitehead
The Police State’s Language of Force
Kathleen Wallace
Noblesse the Sleaze
Farzana Versey
Why Should Kashmiris be Indian?
Nyla Ali Khan
Why Are Modi and His Cohort Paranoid About Diversity?
Shawn Fremstad
The Official U.S. Poverty Rate is Based on a Hopelessly Out-of-Date Metric
Mel Gurtov
No War for Saudi Oil!
Robert Koehler
‘I’m Afraid You Have Humans’
David Swanson
Every Peace Group and Activist Should Join Strike DC for the Earth’s Climate
Scott Owen
In Defense of Non-violent Actions in Revolutionary Times
Jesse Jackson
Can America Break Its Gun Addiction?
Priti Gulati Cox
Sidewalk Museum of Congress: Who Says Kansas is Flat?
Mohamad Shaaf
The Current Political Crisis: Its Roots in Concentrated Capital with the Resulting Concentrated Political Power
Max Moran
Revolving Door Project Probes Thiel’s White House Connection
Arshad Khan
Unhappy India
Nick Pemberton
Norman Fucking Rockwell! and 24 Other Favorite Albums
Nicky Reid
The Bigotry of ‘Hate Speech’ and Facebook Fascism
Paul Armentano
To Make Vaping Safer, Legalize Cannabis
Jill Richardson
Punching Through Bad Headlines
Jessicah Pierre
What the Felicity Huffman Scandal Says About America
John Kendall Hawkins
Draining the Swamp, From the Beginning of Time
Julian Rose
Four Funerals and a Wedding: A Brief History of the War on Humanity
Victor Grossman
Film, Music and Elections in Germany
Charles R. Larson
Review: Ahmet Altan’s “I Will Never See the World Again”
David Yearsley
Jazz is Activism
Elliot Sperber
Captains of Industry 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail