Fjordman: The Norwegian Left’s KGB Romance

FrontPage Magazin 20 November 2012
By Fjordman

After Barack Hussein Obama was reelected as President of the United States in November 2012, the regular columnist Frithjof Jacobsen wrote in the Norwegian newspaper VG that the problem for Obama is that as a human being, he is so great that it becomes hard to live up to these expectations as a political leader. He claimed that the same was the case with another left-wing politician, Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

Frithjof Jacobsen suggested that Stoltenberg is in a totally different league from all the other politicians in his country and has displayed exceptional "moral fiber.” If you believe this leading columnist in Norway’s largest national newspaper, "The public person Jens Stoltenberg has given the Übermensch a human face.”

Yes, he used the same term (overmenneske in Norwegian, Übermensch in the original German) as was employed by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche about exceptional human beings above normal morality, which was also used or misused by the Nazis for their own purposes. This is an embarrassing reminder of the tradition for personality cults surrounding various left-wing leaders throughout history, most of them deeply flawed.

In October 2001, a few days after stepping down as Prime Minister for the first time, Stoltenberg damaged another car in a parking lot in Oslo after he reversed a car owned by the Labor Party. He then tried to run away from the bill, putting a meaningless parking ticket at the windscreen of the other car in case somebody was watching him, but without leaving his name, telephone number, registration plate number or an explanation. The only reason why the owners of the damaged car got paid was because a witness had watched what happened and decided to check to see if the former Prime Minister had truly left his personal information. He did not.

The damage to the other car amounted to 8000 Norwegian kroner. Not an enormous sum, but the main point is that Jens Stoltenberg’s first reaction was an attempt to cheat other people as long as he thought he could get away with it. The Labor Party later paid his bill, but only after they had been contacted about the case and it became too embarrassing for them to deny it.

This story may not be a major issue in itself, but it does tell us something about the man’s character which does not reveal "exceptional moral fiber.”

Far more serious are the allegations that in the 1980s Stoltenberg, as a political talent with good family connections, had more friendly relations with KGB contacts than was advisable. This was the case with many left-wing Western politicians in the Nordic countries and elsewhere. I must stress here that no evidence is available indicating that he did anything outright criminal in this context, but there are things in life that may not be illegal but are nevertheless unwise.

According to the author Alf R. Jacobsen, one of the great taboos of Norwegian politics is the way in which central members of the political Left, including the Labor Party, had contact with the KGB and other intelligence organizations from Communist dictatorships. After the arrest in 1984 of the spy Arne Treholt, a Labor Party politician, it became more difficult for Soviet authorities. One of the last important persons in Norway cultivated as a useful contact by the KGB before the collapse of the Soviet Union itself was the young and promising Jens Stoltenberg. He was, however, warned by his own security services and broke off all contact shortly after this.

As Jacobsen writes, "When I as editor of NRK Brennpunkt uncovered this case in December 2000, the reaction was powerful. I was condemned – not just by Jens Stoltenberg, who a few months earlier had become Prime Minister, but by virtually all of the leading press commentators.”

His boss Einar Førde, the director-general of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) and a prominent Labor Party ideologue who himself had a shady relationship with the KGB, gave him the cold shoulder. The Labor-friendly members of NRK Dagsrevyen, the country’s leading TV news program, tried to undermine the case as either irrelevant or made up with malicious intent, as did the veteran reporter and foreign correspondent Jahn Otto Johansen.

Soviet authorities knew a great deal about the internal intrigues of local politics and had extensive files on many notable politicians, intellectuals and journalists. Alf R. Jacobsen is careful to note that none of these people were involved in criminal activities, but he questions whether they were wise. The KGB had many highly trained, cunning and calculating officers who were only there to infiltrate society. What could be gained from engaging in "dialogue” with organizations representing hostile powers in foreign countries with repressive rule? (continue reading...)