International Socialists Norway demand end to surveillance
In a documentary broadcasted on Norwegian television last week, Christian Høibø revealed himself as an informant for the so called ‘counter extremism’ department of the Police Security Service (PST). He started to infiltrate the left more than ten years ago, at a time of mass demonstrations against the war in Iraq and against capitalist institutions like the G8 and the World Bank, who met in Oslo in 2002. Starting with an absurd allegation that IS had hidden weapons, he then went on to report on members, sympathizers and activities, both of IS and other groups active in the anti-war and anti-capitalist movement. In demonstrations he was often sabotaging mass action by actively provoking police crackdowns on demonstrators. To be honest, activists remember him as unreliable and off balance.
The PST asked him to follow named members of IS. One of their accusations was that an IS member, researching Norwegian oil interests around the world, had secret connections with the Colombian FARC guerilla. The venue for this alleged subversion was Marxism in London. This proved to be another PST absurdity, but we now have reason to believe that the Security Service has used this excuse to illegally spy on IS and trade unionist members with connections in South America.
The story gets even more ridiculous with the revelation that Høibø went from being a member of the organisation SOS Racism, to making contact with the British EDL and presenting himself as an organiser for the Norwegian Defence League in 2010. Although he also informed on these activities to PST – seemingly also about expelling the fascist mass murderer Breivik from NDL for his extremist views (!) – the Police Security Service did not act. Even after the attacks of 22 July 2011, the Security Service actually considers fascist groups to be a smaller threat to the national interests than the left.
This again was evident from the documentary. In a conversation recorded on 14 December 2012, a Security Service officer questioned the infiltrator Høibø about the IS and some of the supposed members of the organisation. This was the day before an anti-fascist rally against the Norwegian Defence League took place in Oslo.
The International Socialists have, among other things, published the following statement to the press.
International Socialists demand halt to surveillance
On Tuesday 19 February, NRK Brennpunkt revealed that PST is behind a lengthy surveillance of the left in Norway, including our organisation.
PST says that the infiltrator ‘has done a great job for us’, and the program also reveals that it has hired a new infiltrator. This shows that the PST is still watching the left.
The International Socialists demand a halt to surveillance of legitimate political organisations and their members and sympathisers.
‘One should expect that these methods were put to a stop after the Lund Commission*. Activists demonstrating for a just world are obviously a bigger threat to PST than right-wing extremists’, said Susan Lyden, long-standing member of the IS.
‘The International Socialists is an open and democratic organisation. We are an active participant in the great popular movements against war, capitalism, racism and crisis. If this is frightening for the government, it is hard to believe them when they talk about more transparency and democracy’, adds Monika Ustad from the International socialists.
International Socialists Norway
* The ‘Lund Commission’ refers to a public commission that revealed illegal political surveillance lasting until the late 1980s.