The Rule of Law After 7/22Â (cross-posted on the Gates of Vienna)
The Norwegian newspaperÂ Aftenposten, which refused Fjordman’s first right-of-reply article, has accepted his second submission. Many thanks to Kepiblanc for translating it into English. The original Norwegian version, which has just beenÂ published atÂ Aftenposten, is at the bottom of this post.
The Rule of Law After 7/22
by Peder Jensen, a.k.a. Fjordman
I know that some people dislike me, which they are perfectly entitled to do. Yet it is important to remember that a civilized country ruled by law must function regardless of personal likes or dislikes. My unpleasant encounter with the Norwegian police raises fundamental questions regarding the handling of witnesses in major criminal investigations. You can still be interested in these issues even if you disagree with or dislike my writings.
Furthermore, it is meaningless to hold well-documented texts responsible for the actions of a disturbed person. Assuming that we take “psychological accountability” seriously, we should also hold those accountable who distribute the Koran â€” which very explicitly encourages violence against non-Muslims â€” and thus make them co-responsible for countless actions of Jihadist terrorism around the entire world. Is this happening?
In his terror manifesto, Anders Behring Breivik quoted numerous different people from all over the world, obviously without their knowledge or approval. Being quoted by persons one has never met is something beyond one’s control, but since I was the only Norwegian among those quoted there I realized that I sooner or later would have to discuss this matter with the authorities.
I first contacted the Norwegian Police Security Service [PST] by physically knocking on the door of their headquarters in Oslo. However, they didn’t want to talk to me and told me to send them an email instead. I suppose the security services have coffee breaks, too. Judging by the newspapers one could get the impression that the police were actively seeking me out, yet neither the police nor the press had the slightest idea who I was until on August 4th when I knocked on the door to Manglerud Police Station, accompanied by Knut Ditlev-Simonsen from the law firm Staff. As far as they were concerned I might as well have been Mickey Mouse.
Although I was not legally obliged to do so I answered most of their questions. The only form of indirect contact I have ever had with Breivik is that both of us posted comments on the website Document.no. It is true that he tried to contact at me some point in 2009 and sent me a handful of emails. As with everything else he said to others prior to his atrocities, they were hardly spectacular or sensational and contained no hint of future terror actions. Furthermore, I was totally uninterested in meeting with him. Apart from that, I don’t know anything about Breivik. Absolutely nothing.
After some hesitation I voluntarily gave the police access to my telephone log, which must be considered to be a very friendly gesture by a person who is not charged with anything and who himself knows that he was not involved in the criminal actions. Virtually the only one of the police requests that I turned down was giving them my computer, which I considered to be too serious a violation of my privacy. I was then physically followed by several police officers and forced to hand it over.
It was BÃ¥rd Dyrdal, leader of the program for questioning witnesses after the 7/22 terror attacks, who announced the use of force against my person, supported by police attorneys Christian Hatlo and PÃ¥l-Fredrik Hjort Kraby. “He had the status of witness and we got a long and fair explanation from him to the questions we had,” Kraby told NRK [Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation].
This is correct. I held the status as a witness both before and afterwards and have never been suspected of or charged with a criminal act of any kind. For the record, after having studied all of my communications for several months, the police informed me by email in October that I am still not suspected of anything.
When Dyrdal announced that I would immediately be escorted by half a dozen police officers to my flat in order to search through my books, movies, photos, kitchen equipment and dirty laundry for hours and hours he declared that there was a lot of pressure in this case, which probably means that the police let the mass media dictate their actions in the case against Behring Breivik. There was no objective, professional justification for what they did to me.
They also confiscated a suitcase with clothes and socks that contained no electronic equipment at all. At a time when far too many rapes and other serious crimes remain unsolved in parts of the country one has to wonder whether it is the right decision by the police to spend several months on studying the socks of a person who has no criminal record .
There is absolutely nothing on my PC that could possibly connect me to the terror attacks. The only thing there that might be of interest to the police authorities â€” and then to the PST more than the regular police â€” are contacts I have with peaceful individuals in many countries who do not like Islam. This means that the Norwegian police disregarded all common legal procedures in order to confiscate a PC that can be used for nothing other than conducting illegal political surveillance.
The police justified their actions against me by using something called a third-party search [tredjemannsransaking], which would imply that evidence of Breivik’s terror attacks should exist in my flat and that there was a danger that this evidence could be lost or destroyed. This is ridiculous. I had contacted the police myself and answered their questions for many hours precisely because I had nothing to hide. Besides, at this point two weeks had passed since the terror attacks, plenty of time to get rid of any evidence had such evidence existed in the first place, which it didn’t.
I have never before heard of any Western democratic country where a voluntary witness who himself contacted the authorities, who was described by the police as being cooperative, who has no criminal record, did not know the perpetrator, and on top of everything else was nowhere near the crime scene when the crime took place have his apartment ransacked and his computer equipment confiscated.
When I told Lars Hedegaard of the International Free Press Society what kind of treatment I had been given as a witness, he responded that it reminded him of the situation in totalitarian states, like the ones we are all too familiar with from the twentieth century. “If someone had told me a few years ago that the free and proud Norway which we Danes admired during the German occupation would end up like this, I would have considered them insane.” Harsh words from a neighbor, and damaging to Norway’s international reputation.
If my case is not disputed, I fear that it may create a dangerous precedent. Worst case scenario, it could imply that the police can from now on ransack the apartment of citizens they dislike, especially if they say something Politically Incorrect, and confiscate their computer equipment, camera and clothes without charging them of having done anything criminal whatsoever. If this happens, we no longer have a crime police; we have a thought police. Do we want a society like that?
Jeg vet at det er folk som ikke liker meg. Det skal de fÃ¥ lov til, men det er viktig Ã¥ huske pÃ¥ at en sivilisert rettsstat skal fungere uavhengig av om man liker vedkommende eller ei. Jeg mener at mitt ublide mÃ¸te med norsk politi reiser prinsipielt viktige spÃ¸rsmÃ¥l knyttet til hvordan man skal behandle vitner i store kriminalsaker. Du kan interessere deg for dette selv om du er uenig med eller til og med misliker mine skriverier.