Silence and naivety in the Skah affair / News / The Foreigner

Silence and naivety in the Skah affair. Politicians and military tacit about hot potato. The Norwegian military has been called in to a meeting today to discuss the Skah/Hopstock “problem”. Whilst key personnel are saying nothing for now, somebody may have overstepped the mark.No comment A military clean-up operation has begun, but buildings have been left untouched, and there have been no fatalities.

khalid, skah, morocco, norway, grete, faremo, sverre, diesen, norwegian, military, anne, cecile, hopstock, minister, jonas, gahr, stoere



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Silence and naivety in the Skah affair

Published on Monday, 1st February, 2010 at 14:30 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 1st February 2010 at 23:10.

Politicians and military tacit about hot potato.

Harald Sunde
Harald Sunde
Photo: Taral Jansen/Forsvaret


The Norwegian military has been called in to a meeting today to discuss the Skah/Hopstock “problem”. Whilst key personnel are saying nothing for now, somebody may have overstepped the mark.

No comment

A military clean-up operation has begun, but buildings have been left untouched, and there have been no fatalities.

“There’s reason to believe there are personnel on various different levels who’ve exceeded their mandate,” Martin Waage, head of the ABP World Group, which supplies private security services, tells Aftenposten.

Both the administrative and political soldiers are refusing to talk. 

General Harald Sunde, head of the military, was unavailable for interview yesterday, Grete Faremo, Minister of Defence, says she wants to wait until all the facts are on the table, and Sverre Diesen, head of the military at the time of the marines’ mission in Morocco, has sent the missile back.

“I believe I’ll let the present head of the military and Minister of Defence comment,” he says.

Unaware

Whilst Ragnhild Imerslund, Deputy Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been left in charge of the damage-limitation exercise between Norway and Morocco.

“We have continually stressed that we followed national and international rules in this matter; explaining the children were in danger at the time, and that it was a principle of necessity. We’re now going to clarify and underline that the operation which resulted in Skah’s children being returned to Norway was organised privately, and without interference by the Norwegian authorities,” she says.

Meanwhile, the children were picked up by a Norwegian diplomat from the Ambassador’s residence in Rabat, where the children stayed after running away from their father. They were then driven to a secure place and handed over to the marine commandos.

The diplomat who transported them was on assignment as the embassy’s police attaché, and was on leave from his job in Norway whilst working for the Ministry.

“We still believe this meant we didn’t partake in the actual flight. But conditions at the time were such that the embassy considered it irresponsible to just have opened the gates and put the children on the street. They were transported a short distance instead,” Imerslund tells VG.

She confirms the ministry’s political leaders approved the transfer, but says it took place without Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre’s knowledge – despite allegations by Skah that he was responsible.

“He hadn't authorised it,” she says.

Naive?

 “This is an extremely hot political potato, even if there’s just a whiff of the mission having been authorised by either the military, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Ivar Kristiansen, the Conservative Party’s (H) defence policy spokesman tells Aftenposten.

Kristiansen claims the entire political environment is in uproar; demanding both an inquiry and clean-up.

FrP’s defence policy spokesman Jan Arild Ellingsen, on the other hand, would like to know how the marines could have possibly been led to believe the mission had been authorised in the first place.

“I hope these two soldiers haven’t risked their lives for what they thought was a legitimate mission, only to be used as political scapegoats. This would really be foul play, otherwise.”

However, Harald Stanghelle – Aftenposten’s political editor – has trouble believing the marines were so naive, especially in view of their training.

Stanghelle thinks there’s more to the matter: “There’s a queue of questions, and their answers are crucial. This is about nothing less than the trust in and integrity of Norwegian special forces,” he writes in his commentary.




Published on Monday, 1st February, 2010 at 14:30 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 1st February 2010 at 23:10.

This post has the following tags: khalid, skah, morocco, norway, grete, faremo, sverre, diesen, norwegian, military, anne, cecile, hopstock, minister, jonas, gahr, stoere.





  
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