Norway is rattled by political disclosures on a level it has not seen in decades and the question of impeachment of Government has been raised.
What follows is a translation of the latest disclosure, but first a recap of what has been revealed during the last year or so.
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Since Autumn of 2017 leaks came through about a massive US military surveillance base in Eastern Norway. From it the US army can carry out surveillance on anyone they choose, and even control drones for military use, safely as it happens from Norwegian soil. This was passed through our Parliament and given the OK even though the Parliament did not have all information about it.
We also see an alarming amount of US military weapons, vehicles and personnel being placed in US military camps in Norway. They already have three storage facilities in Norwegian mountains, but military equipment is flown in on a regular basis and have been for at least a year. New US army bases are planned, even their own airforce base.
Also passed through and granted by Parliament, also without giving exact details.
This is in breach of Constitutional laws. One being that foreign powers are not to be allowed to store or keep weaponry nor personnel on Norwegian soil in times of peace, a far more serious breach is highlighted in this article by Bård Wormland for the NRK (Norwegian broadcast cooperation).
The 4th of June the [Norwegian] government voted yes to place two new satellites in orbit over the Northern region, without knowing that the satellites are to be used by the US Military as the first commercial satellites in such a capacity permanently - Trond Nordby.
Professor of political science Trond Nordby reacts to the fact that it was the Department of Trade that handled and brought this case before the Parliament and not Department of Foreign affairs, nor the Defense committee.
"The government has tried to drown any mention of the case relating to the fact that all information gathered will be available to our allies in NATO," he continues.
After the case passed through Parliament the NRK has revealed that some of the equipment on the satellites can only be used for internal communication for the US Army/Navy, specifically for US subs carrying atomic weapons.
The rest of the equipment can also be used by the US army. The opposition at Parliament (SV, Rødt and MDG) has reacted strongly and says this has put Norway in a very bad alliance to the US atomic weapons policy.
"It means that Norway, as the only country in the world has agreed to take the risk of having US atomic weapons systems connected up to their satellites" - said leader of Rødt: Bjørnar Moxnes last week.
Defence minister Frank Bakke Nilsen was forced to admit the planning of this deal had been ongoing for two years.
Professor Trond Nordby claims the government has broken Constitutional law § 82, that states Parliament has claims to any relevant information. In the case files from government to Parliament there was no mention of military deals with foreign nations.
Deep within the case-files military cooperation is mentioned in one single sentence, and without mentioning any military deals having been made with the US: "The capacity of the satellites will be used by the Norwegian Army, allies and international, commercial interests."
Nordby says the Norwegian government can now be impeached, a procedure aimed to prosecute those who commit crimes against the Constitution. Nordby says:
As a formality this is a Constitutional matter. And impeachment should be the right way to go, but in practice we see cases like this from 1884 and 1926/1927 has been brought forward as "vote of no confidence" . An impeachment would probably not get enough backing in Parliament, but it is important to get these cases out to the public. I hope someone in the Opposition will bring this case onward in Parliament.
The Conservative representative and spokesperson for military affairs, Håvard Elvenes, rejects the criticism from Nordby.
Nordby can say whatever he likes about this case. This was passed through the Parliament and they voted on it based on knowledge and competence.
It has been impossible to get an interview with Labours foreign affairs/military issues, Anniken Huitfeldt. In a short txt she says she stands by the Parliament.
Professor Eivind Smith emphasizes that the Constitution states that government has to inform Parliament of every issue, every side to each case brought before them. And goes on:
Government has to present all relevant information that speaks for or against the governments proposal. That means that all material has to be so complete that nothing can be embezzled or left out.
The US army says they don't have to launch their own satellites and thereby are less vulnerable for attacks by installing their military equipment on Norwegian satellites. In addition to the around $ 7.7 million they save doing it this way.
In an email to the NRK, director of communications in the Trade and Fishery Department, Trond Viken, says the case was brought forward by them "as it involved conditional financial commitments to Space Norway A/S, a state run company under the Trade and Fishery Department".
Special advisor for the Department of Defense , Birgitte Frisch, says: "this is in accordance with our defence policies."
➽Eva Sennesvik has been an antifascist & human rights activist since the early 80’s, spent 10 years lobbying for a fairer society in Scandinavian countries and is currently involved in helping paperless refugees here in Bergen Norway. She writes speeches and pieces for public use on our escalating social problems and the extreme right's dangerous popularity.