Norwegian weapons blamed for Iraqi civilian casualties / News / The Foreigner

Norwegian weapons blamed for Iraqi civilian casualties. Recently-released documents by Wikileaks about the Iraq War show Norwegian-made weapons were responsible for over 200 civilian casualties. Several organisations call on the government to change its export policy. More than 2,800 war reports show evidence two products were deployed during the campaign, according to NRK.Contracts The Protector remote weapons system, made by Kongsberg Gruppen’s (Kongsberg) defence arm, is mounted on top of armoured Stryker vehicles. Its optical feature allows the operator to sit inside and monitor events on a screen.

nato, norwegian, ammunition, protector, kongsberg, gruppen, hellfire, missiles, chemring, nobel, iraq, war, wikileaks, eskil, pedersen, auf, changemaker, markus, nilsen, espen, barth, eide, ministry



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Norwegian weapons blamed for Iraqi civilian casualties

Published on Thursday, 28th October, 2010 at 15:47 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 29th October 2010 at 09:05.

Recently-released documents by Wikileaks about the Iraq War show Norwegian-made weapons were responsible for over 200 civilian casualties. Several organisations call on the government to change its export policy.

Kongsberg Protector mounted on Stryker
Kongsberg Protector mounted on Stryker
Photo: TSGT MIKE BUYTAS, USAF/Wikimedia Commons


More than 2,800 war reports show evidence two products were deployed during the campaign, according to NRK.

Contracts

The Protector remote weapons system, made by Kongsberg Gruppen’s (Kongsberg) defence arm, is mounted on top of armoured Stryker vehicles. Its optical feature allows the operator to sit inside and monitor events on a screen.

“The whole point of the system is to protect people and helps prevent casualties on both sides. It is a less stressful situation for the firer, and has a lower consumption of ammunition,” Ronny Lie, Kongsberg’s Vice President Corporate Communications tells The Foreigner.

NRK alleges the company’s latest annual report shows they have signed an agreement with the US military for approximately eight billion kroner.

In addition, American attack helicopters used the Hellfire air-to-surface missile containing components made by Chemring Nobel AS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chemring Group PLC in the UK.

Amongst other incidents, the Wikileaks release shows these were the same weapons deployed in a fatal attack on 2 Reuters journalists and 10 civilians.

A total of 201 civilians were killed and 498 wounded in military operations directly attributable to Norwegian-made weapons, reports NRK.

Inquiry

“We need a full review of the Norwegian arms exports. It has increased dramatically over the last ten years as a result of Afghanistan and the Iraq War,” says Eskil Pedersen, recently elected head of Norwegian Labour Youth (AUF).

AUF also calls for all Norwegian ammunition and weapons to be marked so it will always be possible to trace the buyer. However, Pedersen admits it will have limited effect, and is more for Norway’s benefit.

“It will not make a difference to whether or not they are used in war situations, but it is important for Norway to have an open debate about its export policy and where the weapons are deployed,” he tells The Foreigner.

Pedersen hopes visibility and debate will change government policy. However, Norway has no legally binding contract with its NATO allies either as to how they are used in combat, or who they might re-export them to without them adopting a so-called End User Agreement, according to Markus Nilsen, President of Changemaker, Norwegian Church Aid’s (Kirkens Nødhjelp) youth organisation.

Nilsen was present today’s Parliamentary open hearing chaired by its Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.

“We believe Parliament is not taking the responsibility it should, even though the government is discussing the issue. We feel the government has not done very much, and just sticks to its ‘we have full agreement within Parliament regarding the export rules’ fallback line,” he says.

Powerless?

He also claims the other Parties are deliberately dragging their feet about changing the rules.

“It is not a political winner.”

Meanwhile, Espen Barth Eide, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD), does not feel the rules need changing.

“Well, the point is that we export weapons to our allies and a handful of other countries, in keeping with the regulations set by Parliament. There has never been any doubt that some of the weapons are occasionally used. I think part of the purpose of buying weapons is that they should be able to use them sometimes,” he tells NRK.

Exports of weapons, ammunition, and other defence equipment to the USA totaled more than 2.2 billion kroner last year alone, according to figures from think tank ForUM (Forum for Environment and Development).





Published on Thursday, 28th October, 2010 at 15:47 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 29th October 2010 at 09:05.

This post has the following tags: nato, norwegian, ammunition, protector, kongsberg, gruppen, hellfire, missiles, chemring, nobel, iraq, war, wikileaks, eskil, pedersen, auf, changemaker, markus, nilsen, espen, barth, eide, ministry.





  
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