The Norwegian Committee for a Free Iraq (KFI) has strong reason to believe that illegal surveillance of six of its members has taken place from October 2004 and 15 months onwards. The Committee demands to know if this presumption is correct and expects an apology.The Norwegian parliament's (Stortinget) supervisory committee for intelligence, surveillance and security agencies (the EOS committee) has recently published their yearly report for 2005. Among other things the report reads that the Police Security agency (PST) in 2004 registered 6 persons in their working registers on basis of "statements to the media encouraging giving support to oppositional groups that also used violent means and terrorist actions in their resistance to the regime in a state".
It is not specified which persons or organisations who are exposed to this political surveillance. But in that the Committee for a Free Iraq was founded autumn 2004 and several spokespersons for the Committee openly have expressed the goals of the group in the media: Information work about Iraq and support for the just resistance of the Iraqis against an occupation in violation with international law, there is reason to believe that members of our committee has been exposed to illegal surveillance.
At this time the committee made several political statements to the press, among other things a call for establishing our committee, a committee to support the resistance in Iraq. We demand knowing if it is so that the Committee or representatives from the Committee have been under surveillance illegally in this period of time.
The suspicion that it is our committee that is referred to in the report is strengthened by that in this time there were no other groups of a similar nature being founded.
We underline that there are good reasons to question the work of the security agencies. The EOS committee discovered this illegal political enlisting almost by accident. In the yearly report it says that «The registration became know to the EOS committee by an ordinary, random test about 15 months after the information was registered. The EOS committee enquired for details about the factual reasons for the registration being made, seen against the clear prohibition in the instruction to the Police Security Agency paragraph 15 against registration for political reasons.
It was referred to that it did not appear as any kind of covered work, in that the reasons for the registration only were political statements and support declarations to the public. It was also pointed out the statements seemed to be able to distinguish between humanitarian aid and aid to the operative resistance, and seemed to be limited to humanitarian aid.»
The work of the Committee has always been open. The police or anyone wishing so could get full insight to our work. We have no secrets. To support the resistance in Iraq is not terrorism. Norwegian and international terrorist legislation is used as a framework to stop support for legitimate liberation struggles. Had we offended the terrorist laws we would neither hesitated to tell about this. We do not denounce supporting the military resistance economically, although we as a committee have not carried out this kind of support.
When the cased was realised with the security agency, the registered information has been, according to the EOS committee, been deleted. This is only natural, and the EOS committee has with their alertness confirmed their raison d'etre as a supervisory organ. But only the suspicion of political surveillance and registration going on ten years after the "white book" of the Lund commission is alarming. Ten years ago massive registration of radical political activists was proven in Norway. Now the same signs appear again as if nothing had happened. Terrorism legislature and political surveillance is a serious threat to freedom of speech and thought in all Europe.
We demand that the Police Security Agency confirm that we were in fact registered, and that the persons involved receive an unconditional apology.