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The Oslo War Process
Norwegian diplomats are the 'advance guard' of the US-European empire. They helped destroy Yugoslavia. They set Israel on the path to destruction. Now they will finish destroying Sri Lanka. Next: India. And Spain.

Historical and Investigative Research, 29 Oct 2005
by Francisco Gil-White


intro  |  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

1. Norwegian international "mediation": How does it work?

Knut Vollebaek is our central character, but to understand what he does we need to lay out the context, for Vollebaek is just one of the players (though a very important one) in what is a curious 'special relationship' between the main NATO powers and Norwegian diplomats.

We shall let Knut Vollebaek himself set the scene. The following quotation, from The Washington Diplomat, expresses very well what most people assume about Norway and its international diplomacy.

[Quote from the Washington Diplomat starts here]

"...Norway has been widely regarded as one of a handful of countries that consistently acts with generosity and broad mindedness in international affairs.

Year after year, Norway works conscientiously in the United Nations, contributes forces to peacekeeping missions, provides generous aid for development, adheres to the strictures of international law and works creatively to head off problems in far-flung corners of the world where it has no apparent interest.

Knut Vollebaek, Norway’s ambassador to the United States, says his nation’s exemplary conduct on the world stage is not the result of sheer altruism, but is based on a clear and coherent philosophy...[which]...reflects its enlightened self-interest...

'I think there is a certain virtue in being small. Of course we haven’t chosen it, but there is no need to be ashamed. We have no colonial background. We have no hidden agenda. We are not dangerous. We are a small country that is willing to use our resources for good purposes,' he says."[0]

[Quote from the Washington Diplomat ends here]

If you remember the Oslo 'Peace' Process, you may have wondered: Why Oslo? Why did Norway, of all countries, get asked to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the PLO?

Because the innocent appearance -- which Vollebaek tries hard to project, above -- is of a harmless little country, neutral in every way, populated by a peace-loving Nordic people with a benevolent attitude towards humankind, seeking only to export their compassionate socialist values. For these reasons -- or so the marketing goes -- Norway can be trusted by all sides in an international conflict.

The truth is otherwise.

But don't take it from me. We shall ask the Norwegian diplomats, who all but confessed the whole game in a recent Christian Science Monitor article, excerpts of which I reproduce below:

[Quote from the Monitor starts here]

"You find Norwegians in the most unlikely places…

'Everywhere there is a crisis, there seems to be a Norwegian,' says Geir Lundestad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute…

…'The purest form of the Norwegian model is the foreign ministry working in symbiosis with one or more academic or nongovernmental humanitarian organizations,' says Jan Egeland, the Norwegian diplomat who invented the model…

…As a small country with a small foreign service, Norway's global ambitions as a peacemaker have forced it to outsource its diplomacy to nongovernmental organizations, officials say.

'The ministry is quite limited when it comes to expertise in different parts of the world' explains Ms. [Mona] Juul, 'so we've been exploiting outside expertise. We have the money, they have the contacts.' "[1]

[Quote from the Monitor ends here]

Non-governmental organizations doing good by helping the neutral and gentle Norse -- who lack any expertise or contacts of their own -- conduct ‘peacekeeping diplomacy.’ Wonderful? Don’t applaud too loudly. Ask yourself first why an absurd Newspeak label such as ‘non-governmental organization’ should ever be employed.

If I offered you a ride on my ‘non-reptilian horse,’ you’d think I was mad. Every horse is non-reptilian, so why speak like that?

Similarly, why say ‘non-governmental organization’? It is perfectly redundant, as everybody knows that government institutions are called secretariats, agencies, departments, bureaus, or ministries, but never organizations. The exception is when several governments come together in the manner of private individuals (e.g. OSCE), and this exception confirms the rule: ‘organization’ connotes ‘private concern.’

But "non-governmental organization" is not merely redundant -- it is also awkward. One could be more elegantly redundant with ‘private organization,’ so the insistence on the more awkward phrase suggests that somebody thinks the explicit message -- not government -- is important.

Why? Well, suppose you found evidence of direct, indirect, or covert government ties, influence, and funding for an alleged ‘non-governmental organization,’ and perhaps even noticed that their top leadership positions were revolving doors for highly-placed government insiders. Would you conclude it was a covert branch of government? Perhaps not if you had to say NGO -- ‘non-governmental organization’ -- every time you talked or thought about it. The point of Orwellian Newspeak (labeling everything that is politically relevant with a word that means the precise opposite) is to spread disinformation and preempt political awareness. So it is highly significant that many alleged ‘non-governmental organizations’ are in fact government-run.[2]

Now, if Norwegian diplomats are manipulated by organizations that are covertly governmental, then they are not doing neutral ‘peacemaking diplomacy’ but somebody else’s geopolitical chess-playing. So the key question is: which government (or governments) controls the NGOs that ‘advise’ the Norwegians?

[Back to the Monitor]

"Egeland first had the idea that a country like Norway might sometimes be better placed than more imposing nations to broker peace deals when he was writing his graduate thesis in the 1980s.

Eventually published as a book, 'Impotent Superpower, Potent Small State,' the thesis argued that Norway 'had an unfulfilled potential for facilitating, bridge building, and being a moral entrepreneur,' Egeland recalls."

[end quote]

"Impotent Superpower, Potent Small State…" It says it all, doesn’t it? Since there is only one superpower, the founding document for the Norwegian strategy says in its title that what Norway calls its 'peacemaking diplomacy' is really on behalf of the United States.

But why is Norway, in particular, "better placed…to broker deals"?

[Back to the Monitor]

"…It helps, of course, that Norway is not a threatening country.

It is not neutral -- it has been a member of NATO from the start -- but 'Norway hasn't done much harm to anyone for 1,100 years,' since the days of the Vikings, points out Dan Smith, director of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo.

'We have no colonial past,' adds Juul. 'We don't have stakes or strategic interests' that might make one side or another in a conflict suspect ulterior motives."

[end quote]

Vollebaek said much the same thing to The Washington Diplomat. But what Vollebaek and Juul say is false, and they know it.

Norway in fact shares many "strategic interests" with the US, and we see above why: it "has been a member of NATO from the start" and therefore "It is not neutral." In fact, it is difficult to imagine any significant strategic interests of Norway that would not coincide with those of the NATO alliance leadership given that Norway is not, by itself, a global player.

[Back to the Monitor]

"…At the same time, Mr. Johansen acknowledges, Norway's peacemaking efforts are not entirely altruistic. For a small, marginal country with a population the size of New Jersey's, initiatives in crisis zones 'are a way for us to be in constant contact with the US, Britain, France, and so on, because they want to discuss what we are doing,' Johansen says. 'We can use the opportunity to raise other questions, which are of domestic importance to us,' he adds with a grin.
'When [Norwegian Foreign Minister] Thorbjoern Jagland rings up Madeline Albright,' jokes Mr. Smith, 'she doesn't know if he's calling because he wants her help in some cod fishing dispute with Iceland, or because he's just resolved one of the world's wars, and he wants her to help arrange a signature ceremony in Washington. 'A distinctive, individualistic foreign policy is one way to stay relatively high on the radar screen,' he says."

[end quote]

Norwegians use their international diplomacy to beg for the attention of NATO countries? Well, beggars must be ingratiating. Obviously, therefore, Norway has a clear "stakes" in seeing that its international diplomacy always fulfills the wishes of "the US, Britain, France. . ."   -- that is, the wishes of NATO's foreign-policy elite.

So, if Norway has a stake in seeing NATO get its way, and if it has no strategic interests that would clash with NATO, then when Mona Juul says (above) that, in Norway, "'We don't have stakes or strategic interests that might make one side or another in a conflict suspect ulterior motives" she is giving us a lot of disinformation, if I must say it politely.

The truth is that Norway has no stakes or strategic interests that are not NATO's own. And therefore, if the US-led Empire has ulterior motives in any particular conflict in which Norway is diplomatically deployed, then so does Norway. But Juul is right that Norway's appearance of neutrality and harmlessness makes if hard for most ordinary people to "suspect ulterior motives," and in sharing this she has in fact let the cat out of the bag: by using Norway the NATO foreign-policy Establishment puts people off guard, solving two problems:

1) deployment of Norway allows NATO to pursue certain policies without seeming to; and

2) these policies get the "international community" stamp.

[Back to the Monitor]

"Still, officials here are realistic about the limits to what they can do, bearing in mind Norway's lack of strategic might.

'The United States has big sticks and carrots it can use to mediate, but we are activist facilitators,' says Egeland."

[end quote]

I cannot make things any clearer than Egeland has, and Egeland, I remind you, is who came up with the idea of deploying Norway diplomatically for "peacemaking" purposes.[3]

I shall now examine in depth one specific case in which NATO deployed Norwegian diplomacy aggressively in order to destroy a country. This is the tragic case of Yugoslavia.

Continue to part 2:

Footnotes and Further Reading

[0] "Ambassador of Norway Knut Vollebaek Norway, the International Citizen"; The Washington Diplomat; August 2001; by John Shaw

[1] The Christian Science Monitor,  May 31, 2000, Wednesday,  WORLD; GRASS-ROOTS DIPLOMACY; Pg. 1,  1462 words,  Norway as peacemaker,  Peter Ford, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor,  OSLO, NORWAY

[2] The following excerpt is from Josselin, D., & Wallace, W. (2001). Non-state actors in world politics: A framework. In D. Josselin, & W. Wallace (Eds.), Non-state actors in world politics (pp. 1-20). New York: Palgrave.

"Idealists often present non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as the vanguard of an emerging global civil society, challenging the instinctive authoritarianism of states and the power of international capital. Enthusiasts for globalization see private social actors as building networks across borders, promoting shared understandings, even international solidarity. Hard-Line Realists, on the other hand, see NGOs either as front-organizations thinly disguising the interests of particular states, or as potential revolutionaries, seeking to undermine national solidarity and the stability of the state system… …defining non-state actors chiefly by their independence from states and state authority would be misleading. Both in domestic and international politics, the theoretical purity of these opposing ideal types is muddled by the complexities of practice…Governments of liberal states provide financial support for some transnational groups, primarily those working in economic and social development. Think-tanks and elite networks often have close links with governments, from funding to participation by officials. Intelligence agencies subsidize ‘autonomous’ groups which promote appropriate causes…"

For examples of how "Intelligence agencies subsidize ‘autonomous’ groups which promote appropriate causes," and for a sense of what these "appropriate causes" might be, consult the following pieces:

"What is Seeds of Peace? Does this US Intelligence operation groom young Arab leaders who want peace with Israel, or who wish to destroy Israel?"; Historical and Investigative Research, 21 Sep 2005
by Francisco Gil-White.


"A skeptical look at the Ford Foundation: Does its Nazi past matter?"; Historical and Investigative Research; 18 Sep 2005; by Francisco Gil-White.

"Us Agency, IRI, Boasts "We Were The Bridge" In Venezuela Coup"; Emperor's Clothes; 18 April 2002; by Jared Israel

"CARE Spied for NATO: Perfect Symbol of a 'Humanitarian' War"; Emperor's Clothes; 7 February 2000; by Jared Israel

[3] It should reassure nobody that Egeland subsequently went on to become a UN official (as reported in the same Monitor article). If the man who would subordinate his own country to the US now serves at the UN, what can be said for the independence of the UN?