Corruption and abuse of power in Norway
Fampo | People’s Action Against Abuse of Power, Police State and Culture of abuse | www.fampo.info
Contrary to what mainstream media tells us, corruption and human rights violations abound in Norway. Fampo is an organisation which struggles to stop abuse of power in Norway.
Censorship, the Norwegian way
On September 06 2000, the local radio station Radio Modum broadcasted the second program in the series Det skjulte Norge (The veiled Norway). The following day Irene Mjøseng, editor of the local newspaper Bygdeposten commented on the content in Det skjulte Norge in an editorial. The next day she was called by the newspaper’s board chairman, Bjørn Larssen. He told that he had received two negative reactions on Mjøseng’s editorial. He declined to inform who had reacted negatively on the editorial, but informed that external persons had contacted him regarding the editorial. Mjøseng understood that the chairman refused her to publish more editorials or articles of the same kind. She found that the chairman’s attempt to stop coverage of certain issues conflicted with the guidelines an editor shall follow, and commented the demand from the chairman in an editorial on September 12th.
On September 13th Mjøseng was suspended as an editor. On October 31st she was sacked. To the regional newspaper Drammens Tidende Larssen stated that Bygdeposten chose to suspend her in order to protect her security; she had herself said that she was in danger because she had expressed herself to much (!)
Mjøseng sued Bygdeposten for sacking her without sufficient reason. In the trial Bygdeposten put forward another reason for the dismissal: The main point was that Mjøseng was not willing to follow the newspaper’s fundamental views, including that Bygdeposten should be a newspaper produced according to a local newspaper concept, and that she had confirmed this at the board meeting on October 10th. Protocols from the meeting expose this as a lie.
“The court agrees with the defendant that she thereby has parted with the newspaper’s editorial fundament as this topic is not the same as the local newspaper that she as editor is bounded by”, judge Hagelund in Drammen municipal court wrote. This is an absurdity. The fact that a newspaper is edited according to a local newspaper concept, means that it shall be good at presenting local stuff, not that some topics are banned. Also, the actual articles had a local connection, i.e. through the organisation Fampo, registered with address Solumsmoen.
Mjøseng brought the conclusion to the next judicial level - high court. Borgarting high court had to go against the city court on all points. However, that did not mean that the court agreed with Mjøseng. The high court wrote that it seemed “evident that Mjøseng has been influenced by Hiåsen [Fampo’s chairman] and/or Fampo to the extent that there can be raised rightful suspicion that this influence has influenced her editorial practice and thereby her independence.” The high court did not attempt to justify the claim that the editor had let herself be influenced, but claimed that it was “evident”.
Let us take a look at what was published in Bygdeposten before the editor was removed. The article Coercively hospitalised without reason described a case where a woman from one of Oslo’s suburbs was picked up in her home three times and brought to a mental asylum without the requested papers existing. In the article The last Soviet Republic the editor informed that the police at Sunnmøre demanded that Kåre Torvholm and Oddmar Remøy, both with a clean legal record, should be subject to a mental examination. We will come back to Torvholm’s struggle to reveal extensive economical criminality later on.
Oddmar Remøy and Kåre Torvholm were accused for posing threats against, and acting threatening towards, the sheriff in Herøy municipality. In the article Wants judicial murder on April 27th 2000, Mjøseng cited an article in the newspaper Fiskaren, where the prosecuting authority used a journalist as a witness. This journalist later admitted (in a taped conversation) that he was not present in the room where the threats were alleged to have been posed, and that he had not heard the conversations the prosecuting authority had mentioned in Fiskaren.
The Bygdeposten case is the main topic in the report Ytringsfrihetens pris i Det skjulte Norge (The price of freedom of speech in the hidden Norway). In the report, Dag Hiåsen documents that two court levels withheld documents from the plaintiff, a clear violation of Norwegian law. The report also exposes lies concerning the case, planted in regional media.
In the editorial Radio med mening (Meaningful Radio) Mjøseng wrote: “Three local radio stations which have begun spending their time on these issues, have lost their licence to publish immediately. One of them was the student radio in Tromsø”. With help from the Norwegian legal system, revealing journalism in Bygdeposten was also stopped.
Anders Breivik: Norway's Whores of the Court & their Schizophrenic Diagnosis Delusion (05:34)
According to Statistics Norway, the Child Protection Services (CPS) intervened in some way towards 11 700 new children in 2007. If one multiplies that number with 5, one gets 58 500, which is nearly the annual birth rate in Norway. This means that if the CPS continues like in 2007, there will be a CPS case on every fifth Norwegian child! This includes all kinds of CPS involvement, from economical help to the family to foster homes.
In 2006 scientist Joar Tranøy wrote a report to the University in Stockholm, about the Norwegian CPS and the methods used by psychologists who are entitled to write official reports on whether parents are fit to raise their children - or if the parents shall be denied the right to take care of their children. Tranøy scrutinised the reports in 37 cases where parents had contacted him, and found several methodological weaknesses.
Lack of criticism of sources: In 32 out of 37 cases sources had not been scrutinised; allegations against parents were uncritically adopted. The conclusion in 18 of the cases referred to second hand information from the CPS. In 16 reports psychologists made use of slander. Non-scrutinised information was being uncritically referred to as facts in 18 cases. Tranøy found decontextualisation in 28 of the 37 reports. Decontextualisation may imply that facts relevant to descriptions of persons are not mentioned. It may also mean that statements and actions are separated from their context, so that those who read the report may easily misinterpret the situation.
Tranøy also found citation errors in disfavour of biological parents - and biased statements. An example of a biased statement is the following remark from a report: “Dad occupies the whole dining table with his hobby activities and it is quite untidy and somewhat dirty in the house”. The psychologist observed this during quite short time (15 min, according to parents). According to neighbours the children often participated in the hobby activity, the building of a model plane. The psychologist did not examine this.
In his report, Tranøy describes general legal protection problems in the CPS system. One may compare the report in CPS cases with the task of a police investigator. Both shall find the truth. Should the accused be found guilty? Should the child be removed from its family?
The role of the police investigator is regulated by law. Child Protection cases are different. There are no rules for the collection of information. The CPS worker decides personally if talks with parents or witnesses shall be taken by phone or face to face. Telephone is often used. What the CPS worker/psychologist writes in the report is not read loudly to parents, and control questions may fail to be asked.
CPS cases often rely on “information” from anonymous sources. It may prove impossible to defend oneself against anonymous sources. You do not know who the source is, if the source is reliable, if the source possesses first hand information or just has heard some rumours. And you do not know about possible clash of interest between the source and the parents. In criminal cases this kind of use of anonymous sources is illegal. In a letter the Public Prosecutor has warned against the use of anonymous sources, and mentions that these are often driven by revenge, envy or malice.
The psychologists in the Child Protection cases are often taken from lists made by the CPS, or they may have close connections to the CPS. Psychologists operating in several Child Protection cases are often present at meetings with the CPS, without the parents being present, and thereby get one-sided information.
In criminal cases it is obvious that experts are appointed by the court. It would have resulted in harsh criticism if the police could appoint experts.
Another problem is the swift change of roles in Child Protection cases. Sverre Kvilhaug has long experience as a lawyer in child care cases, and is a critic of the role of the experts in CPS cases. Kvilhaug poses the question whether the demands for a fair trial are fulfilled:“Article 6 in The Human Rights Convention entitles everyone to a fair trial. This is also the case in a Child Protection case in county organs or in courts - when the issue is whether parents shall lose or regain the care for the children. In these cases psychologists have a special role. They are paid by the child care departments to influence the outcome. In this way they frequently change hats. The extent and economical importance for many psychologists makes it reasonable to ask if their reports and votes are influenced by their interest in getting new assignments from the child care departments. This question does not seem to have bothered county bureaucrats, courts or the department. In criminal cases such a change of hats would never have been accepted, nor even conceived”.
Kvilhaug continues:“I shall illustrate the extent: In the year 2001, a psychologist in Norfjoreid informed that she had been an appointed expert paid by the child care department in about 40 cases. In about 50 cases she had been an expert member of two different committees. One year later she had had 11 assignment for the child care department and 5 for the county committee. Also, she had been an expert member of the county jury. Can one rely on that an expert, who is as economically dependent on the child care department as in this case, is able to give the private part in a child care case a fair treatment? Would not most people tend to believe that these psychologists will support the child care departments in near 100% of the cases, and is that not what we see that the experts actually do? Would anyone believe that an expert voting against the child care department will get new assignments from the child care departments?”
One example can serve to illustrate the way many psychologists act in child care cases. Jurist Herman Berge found the following pattern in the work of a central psychologist connected to FOSAP (Forum for Psychological Experts):By examining the 33 decisions I found at Lovdata [official website] you find no decision where Poulsson has not concluded in favour of the assigning authority. You may safely conclude that Poulsson consequently concludes in favour of the child care department. In my opinion Poulsson’s work has no scientific value, and is worthless, not to say detrimental, in child care cases”.
Psychiatry worthy of a dictatorship.
Anders Breivik: Habeus Mentem :: Right to Legal Sanity (21:04)
Norway is the European country where the largest number of people are being coercively hospitalised, relative to population numbers. An analysis made by SINTEF in 1996, showed that about 45% of all hospitalisations in Norwegian psychiatry are coercive. In other European countries the same numbers were between 5 to 15 percent. The numbers for Norway were however only an estimate. Because many hospitals do not report coercive hospitalisations, no good statistics are available.
In some other countries there is a court deciding whether a person shall be coercively hospitalised. That is not the situation in Norway; in Norway you can only complain to a control commission after being hospitalised. At that point it is often difficult for the patients furthering their case, being drugged.
We have many examples of an utmost grave form of use of psychiatry in Norway – internating people who have disclosed illegal actions and abuse of power. The most infamous example is the Juklerød affair. Arnold Juklerød was hospitalised at Gaustad mental asylum in 1971 with the diagnosis kverulant paranoia (paranoid schizophrenic). According to psychiatrists at Gaustad, Juklerød had “unchangeable paranoid false ideas” that local authorities had broken the law in the process where a school was shut down. As Trond Skaftnesmo later documented – and as the deparment admitted in 1995 – Juklerød’s false ideas were true. In spite of this, Juklerød’s diagnosis was never deleted.
One of those who have been labelled mentally sick and coercively hospitalised was Synnøve Fjellbakk Taftø, diplomat and jurist. Taftø has written the book Skjoldmøysagaen, where she writes about her experience from Norwegian diplomacy.
As mentioned before, the police in Sunnmøre wanted Kåre Torvholm and Oddmar Remøy mentally examined. In the case of Remøy, the argument for hospitalising him, tells a lot. This is what Bjørn Martin Aasen, municipal doctor in Herøy and former secretary in one of the departments in Gro Harlem Brundtland’s government, wrote to justify coercive hospitalisation:“He belongs to a civil network with both local, national and international connection, with the purpose to disclose criminal things happening in the public sector, to get things on to a more productive track. In my opinion the requirements in lph 3 are fulfilled” Here ‘lph 3’ is short for the law on mental care.
In a report written in 1999, when a new law concerning psychiatry was carried, Dag Hiåsen wrote about the control commissions. In the year 1997, 9,651 Norwegians were coercively hospitalised. The number of complaints on coercive psychiatric treatment endorsed by the control commissions that year was 49. That number is exceeded by the number of control commissions in Norway at the time (57)!
The last years the use of medication for ADHD has soared; the use has increased by 900% in the period 96-06. The UN’s drug organ has voiced concern about the strong increase in Norway, which is exceptional in Europe. There exist noteworthy warnings about side effects of this medication, as well as interesting alternatives to medication
Economical criminality - the example of the fishing industry
Due to Kåre Torvholm (1941 - 2000) and other people with the will to investigate, it is today known to most Norwegians that economical criminality has been (as it still is) rampant in Norway’s fishing industry. Torvholm was a pioneer in exposing illegal fishing and theft of the fishermen’s pensions. He was external mentor for Torstein L. Hansen when Hansen documented economical criminality in his post-graduate thesis at the University of Tromsø. The following are extracts from journalist Kjetil Haanes’s article “Kåre Torvholm should have been alive to see this” in Sunnmørsposten July 17. 2001:“The last year hardly a week has passed without disclosures of fishing-related cheating. The confidence is all time low, and the fishing industry is to blame. Many have had knowledge about, and participated in, cheating in a lot of ways: fishing diaries and the amount, weight and species of the fish. Dock documents and export documents are falsified. This is documented in trial after trial.
Too long have the fishermen’s spokesmen been silent about this culture. For a long time excuses like that with complicated laws, being 100% law obedient was not possible. And we have been told that fishermen from other nations, like Iceland and Russia, have acted far worse”.
Haanes concludes as follows:“They [former Fishing Ministers] cannot have been ignorant, at least not if they read some of the hundreds of faxes from the now deceased fish cheating discloser Kåre Torvholm from Moldtustranda.
And now I will explain the choice of title for this commentary. In the last days I have been phoned by many people declaring that “Kåre should have experienced this”, as the scandals have been unfolded.
Several active fishermen have also contacted me and said: “You should have known how right Kåre was about the cheating”. And a former politician occupied with fishing politics, and a critic of Torvholm, said: “He seems to have been right after all”.
Political Psychiatry & Breivik's 'paranoid schizophrenic' diagnosis (11:02)
History judges and the verdict may be merciless, especially for those who are exposed as playing with false cards. Some of these are now seeking to avoid attention. This includes persons who have been calling journalists, urging them to avoid contact with Kåre Torvholm. If they had contact with him, they would not be regarded as serious, and would experience difficulties in collecting information - it was said.
Kåre Torvholm wanted the truth to be known, so that people in positions could not misuse their power to gain benefits. He wanted justice and equal opportunities for all, and he was fond of the fishermen and coastal Norway.
By putting an end to cheating in fishing in Norway, one is also honouring Kåre Torvholm. Maybe time is ripe for both?”
One Member of Parliament, Marie Lovise Widnes (Socialist Electoral Alliance, the period 1989-93) did support Torvholm in his struggle against economical criminality. She has written the book Fragler, finst dei? (Fraggles, do they exist?), a book that describes Torvholm’s work.
Politicians are informed
All parliamentary parties in Norway are informed about the grave conditions Fampo can document. In September 2004 Erik Strand, board member of Fampo, sent an open letter to the members of the Committee of Justice in the parliament. In the letter Strand described the Bygdeposten trial, human rights violations in Norwegian psychiatry, and other conditions not worthy of a democracy. Then MP and today Minister of Justice, Knut Storberget (Labour Party), confirmed in an e-mail that he had received and read the open letter. Strand also sent an open letter to the candidates in the 2005 parliamentary election; all the MPs are informed.
Odd Einar Dørum (Liberal Party), Minister of Justice until the 2005 election, is even more well-informed; Fampo was invited to a meeting with representatives from the Department of Justice in August 2004. At the time of this meeting, a debate had been going on for some time on the Liberal Party’s internet debate forum.
In February 2004 Erik Strand posted a debate article on the Liberal Party's debate forum on the Internet, Talerstolen. Strand commented that the Liberal Party's chief of staff, Runolv Stegane, had sent a letter with negative remarks about Fampo’s chairman Hiåsen, to Hiåsen and with copy to the mayor in Sigdal. Stegane signed the letter as vice mayor in Sigdal. In his posting Strand wrote about some of the personal consequences for Hiåsen of his engagement for human rights in Norway, and the report Ytringsfrihetens pris i Det skjulte Norge. Stegane replied with several false allegations. According to Stegane, Hiåsen had served as a lawyer for Mjøseng (which he was denied to do), and had declined to show up in court (a lie). According to Stegane, Ytringsfrihetens pris i Det skjulte Norge was filled with stories about for example surveillance. - Hiåsen had used much imagination in writing these stories. The truth was that in the report Stegane had received, the word surveillance was not even used! Stegane ended his participation in the debate with the following remark about the Bygdeposten case: "This is a sad story which could have been avoided if she [Mjøseng] had not let herself brainwash by people acting like religious fanatics with a monopoly on the right lore. It is sad to observe that Erik Strand, cand. scient [university degree] (according to Hiåsen) falls into the same trap.
In an e-mail Thomas Hansen, editor of the Liberal Party's member magazine liberal.no expressed his disgust for Fampo's participation in the Internet debate this way: "If there is something that pollutes the Internet debate, then it's not spam, but madmen who are out to defame and poison the entire debate environment with their outrageously narrow and unimportant issues."
In an open letter to Liberal Party leader Lars Sponheim, Strand demanded that Sponheim distanced himself from the allegations Stegane had posted on his party's debate forum. Sponheim did not answer, but the Liberal Party's Secretary General, Terje Breivik, wrote an "answer" where he did not comment upon Stegane's allegations. Breivik only concluded that the party could not instruct Stegane in his task as a vice mayor, and that one could strive to get him out of office in the next election - an answer that had no relevance to Strand's letter. In a posting at "Talerstolen", Sponheim's advisor Geir Olsen, denied that Stegane had posted false allegations.
The open letter may be read at Fampo.
In early August 2004, Strand posted an open letter to Dørum as a debate article on Talerstolen. In a reply later the same day Dørum’s advisor Marit Meyer confirmed that the letter was received in the Department of Justice, and that Fampo soon would be invited to a meeting in the Department of Justice.
After some phone calls, Fampo received an e-mail with the following message: “Parlamentary Secretary Rita Sletner may meet you on August 31. at 13.00 - 14.00”. When arriving at the meeting, Fampo was told that Sletner was not able to come, and that the meeting could not last for an hour. Representing Dørum was his advisors Marit Meyer and Kjersti M. Høgestøl. A representative from the Police Department (part of the department of justice) was also present.
The meeting lasted less than 40 minutes, not giving room for explaining conditions both grave and complex. Nevertheless Fampo managed to present several grave conditions and give the department an issue of “Ytringsfrihetens pris i Det skjulte Norge”. Fampo used a tape cassette during the meeting, and the promise that Fampo would receive response from the Department of Justice, can be documented.
One year later Fampo had received no response from the Department of Justice. So then Strand posted a new debate article at Talerstolen, commenting this. A local Liberal Party chairman replied that taping a meeting without the knowledge did not show openness and honesty. A former board member of Young Liberals of Norway, expressed his doubt about the legality of this (it is legal). Then in a reply Marit Meyer wrote that she had been present at the meeting, and she was not aware of any tape cassette. Strand’s questions about the promised response she did not answer, and no response ever came from the Department of Justice.
Robbery and neutralising
Robbery and neutralising. - The welfare state of the state-in-the-state-clan is the title of a report where Dag Hiåsen examines a broad spectre of conditions in Norway. The searchlight is directed towards lack of judicial security as a cause of increasing poverty in Norway. By a diversity of arrangements the sources of wealth is placed in a few hands. In his report Hiåsen cites news and debate programs and demonstrates that the given explanations of increasing poverty do not concur with facts.
The report pins the legal system. The courts are dangerous for common people, was the headline of an article in Økonomisk Rapport 02/1998. The article begins as follows: “Scary is the reality Økonomisk Rapport has disclosed (…)”. The magazine continues: “The judges judge arbitrarily.” “They misunderstand laws (…), do not understand what the case is about or let sympathy weigh more than reason when they judge.”
Under the headline Dangerous trials the following text was stressed: “Scary is our conclusion after having examined almost all verdicts from Borgarting High Court last year. Common people have no judicial security, but risk losing up to half a million kroner in small cases. If you are not on the guard, you may be the next victim.”
The description given by Økonomisk Rapport is unfortunately correct. Several judicial murders are infamous in Norway (Fritz Moen, Per Liland, and Ferdrik Fasting Torgersen). Andreas Skartveit, former director of a publishing firm, put it this way in a letter published in Aftenposten 06.07.98, after having summed up several serious cases: “The most serious about these mistakes is not that they are so many, but that they are so ugly. And the worst thing is that one can see a pattern in the mistakes.”
Fampo have been contacted by victims of the Norwegian judicial system. Documents show corruption in a frightening scale. That includes cases where people have been forced to sell their house as a result of judicial murder. Notorious is the case where Nils T. Koppen’s property was coercively sold for 350.000 kroner, while local authorities hid the fact that the property would soon be sold for 16 million kroner. Also, many people have experienced that their own lawyer have sold them down the river.
In his report, Hiåsen quotes the following from text-TV: “Every third employee within health care, school and child care say that they are afraid of going to their leaders and tell about conditions that should be criticised. The reason is fear of retaliations; the largest survey concerning whistleblowers hitherto shows.” The text continues: “Among the retaliations one finds social exclusion, losing tasks, not getting salary rise, and becoming excessive.” The report Prosjekt Munnkurv (“Project Muzzle”) was worked out by Norsk sykepleierforbund (union for nurses). Here is a comment from Bente Riise, former editor of Psykisk Helse, published in the newspaper Dag og Tid 18.12.04: “43% of the nurses fear sanctions if they express themselves in the public about conditions concerning the patients’ health. Half the nurses have either got, or seen their colleges get, negative sanctions as a result of discussing problematic conditions internally. - The restrictions on freedom of speech are unacceptable.”
In the article “Whistle blowing - a risky sport”, Jan Helge Solbakk, professor in medical ethics, discusses a proposed new law concerning whistle blowers. In a hearing note sent out by the department 23.12.05, the department (for work and social issues) writes:There is proposed a general rule which states that employees have the right to speak on their own behalf about conditions concerning the entity where they work. This shall be done in a way that does not harm the employer’s relevant and essential interests. There is also proposed a special rule concerning the right to speak about conditions worthy of critique. This shall be done in a responsible way. When whistle blowers go to the media, it must be especially be seen that the whistle blowing has solid foundation, if the relevant conditions have general interest, and if the employee has first spoken about the conditions internally, when this is rational.”Solbakk starts his comment by mentioning that of the 176 institutions and persons receiving the hearing note, only 56 replied. He states:“Among the central medical institution and health institutions, Statens helsetilsyn is the only one that has responded. This in spite of that the law proposal cannot easily be seen as strengthening of employees’ freedom of speech or right to blow the whistle, but rather can be seen as a defence of the employer’s need for protection in such cases, Helsetilynet has not got any critical remarks about the proposals that shall replace § 2 - 4 in the work environment law.”
Solbakk continues:“As Henning Jakhelln - one of the most learned in the area - comments, a law where the focus is moved from the object of whistle blowing to its subject, to the question of correct procedure from the whistleblower, will reduce the whistleblower’s possibilities heavily.”
Hiåsen mentions several examples of people who have met retaliations because they have dared to disclose conditions that are hidden from publicity. He comments on threats against Kåre Torvholm and his family (this was mentioned in the newspaper Sunnmørsposten). The threats also involved Torstein L. Hansen and his family. Threats against Torvholm were also mentioned in the book Oppgjør by Oddmund Hammerstad, former secretary in the Ministry of Defence. A sinister case is the case of architect Eirik Finne, who lost his job when he could demonstrate that a common roof construction radically increased the danger of fire.
Also a report from 1999 about psychiatry in Norway discusses causes of poverty. Hiåsen cites a study showing that people with a psychiatric diagnosis had worse economical conditions than other groups. In the study group a relatively larger number of people with a history in psychiatry had spouses in job. That should indicate that the situation among people who have been detained in psychiatry is worse than the study tells.
There are several indications that people are hindered from reading the material on Fampo’s website. Several people have responded that they have not been able to certain articles. After this has been mentioned over the phone, they have been able to read the articles. Please remember this if you do not get into Fampo’s website.
Fampo’s address: 3355 Solumsmoen, Norway
Email: fampo [at] hotmail.com
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