Theater of Cruelty

Feels an accomplice

- I feel complicit, says Trond Ali Linstad about his wife's recently revealed role as a double agent. In this Ny Tid interview, Lindstad says that he was tried for recruitment as a police informant in 1988.


- Well… What I have known and not known, says Trond Ali Linstad and smiles gently at us from the office chair in the doctor's office.

- The Norwegian word agent is so dramatic. More calmly we can say information retriever or participant in hidden services…

He didn't know it, her husband for 30 years, until it became public recently through the release of information from Odd Karsten Tveit's new book War & diplomacy: That his wife Karin Linstad has been an agent for the Israeli intelligence service Mossad. But maybe he wasn't completely innocent anyway.

- Do you have any idea?

- Many, many years ago, when we were young and working for Palestine, Karin came to me and asked: «If, Trond… someone on the pro-Palestinian side asked me to perform some secret services for them. What would you think of that? ” We had just read "How the steel was hardened" and were very engaged. So I said that I thought it would be right to participate. I remember that, I gave her the green light. So it kind of makes me complicit.

- How much do you know about what happened afterwards?

- Not so much. But a few years later a new question arose. I do not want to go into that, but she wondered what I thought about a particular type of covert service. It confirms to me that she was still moving in the hidden services. So far I can confirm that she has had duties in covert service, and that it was on pro-Palestinian incentive. When I now hear afterwards that she also moved in the other services' hidden services, I think that it is not unreasonable that she has received such requests.

- What do you think about that?

- It opens up many fundamental questions: whether it is wise, whether it is naive to believe that one can play a two-sided role. Those discussions should be taken. Nevertheless; in conflicts there is open propaganda, armed conflict and diplomacy. But there is another level, the hidden services. When it comes to the conflict in Israel and Palestine, it is so obvious that the Palestinians are right and the Israelis are wrong. It is excellent to go into solidarity work, to arrange demonstrations, debates and meetings. But one must be aware that the conflict also has other levels.

- You yourself were one of the first two aid workers who traveled to the Middle East, and have been chairman of the Palestine Committee. Have you ever been asked to participate in secret services?

- Well, Iver Frigård called me as chief of the security police, and asked me to meet him on a bench outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the spring of 1988. There he asked if I could become an informant for the Norwegian security police. To charm me, he said I knew so much more about the Middle East than them. But a few days before, it had been in the newspaper that all information POT received went directly to Mossad. I confronted him with it, and said it was not relevant to me. Thus, we ended that conversation. But when I mentioned the episode to a key Palestinian person I knew, he replied with a smile and a serious undertone: "Why did you not do that?" He asked, "you could learn something about how they think." So from the Palestinian side, it is no foreign thought to smell the enemy, to hear what they are doing. This is not unreasonable. What I do know is that a lot of news in recent days has come as a surprise to me.

- What has surprised you the most?

- Well, first of all: I have known that there has been a certain activity on the hidden side in close family. But I know little about the scope. Secondly: If you move to one side and try to have contact with the other, it is in the cards that you must provide some information to be interesting. It has been said that all the information that Karin gave Mossad was cleared with the other side in advance, but you never know if you may come out with some extra information. Furthermore; it is now a matter of information disclosure from one side; Israel and Frisgaard. Then we should take that into account when we are to assess the form of truth in what emerges. Nothing is said about what they asked about, which they were not told, or what was taken out and brought back to the other side. No one knows for sure, not even the person in between. Seemingly useless information can be useful for some. One is in danger, as in all warfare, of so-called collateral damage. My conclusion, however, is that I gave the green light. There's a lot I do not know, but I have full confidence that what happened was decent and right.

- Finn Sjue went hard this weekend and criticized your wife, and it is claimed that she also gave information to Mossad about you. Do you want to comment on it?

- Then we are back to the principle. It can be discussed whether what she did was naive, cynical, difficult. It was clearly partly exposed. But this is a major discussion of principles that must be taken in the right forums at the right time. It will probably be invited until now. Nevertheless; it does not sound nice that specific information has been given. I do not know what has been said about me. But I'm a person with few secrets, I do not know what it could be that could hurt me if it came out. What I have heard; that it has emerged that I am in principle against the state of Israel, want a democratic state and that I led the first health work in Palestine, I can readily admit. I'm not worried at all.

- Some media have linked Karin Linstad's termination of cooperation with Mossad, with the assassination of Abu Jihad in the spring of 1988. What do you think about it?

- According to the information that has emerged, it was between four and five years from the time she had left as an agent for Mossad, until the person in question was killed. These are strong indications that there is no connection. Besides, the murder took place in Tunis, and Karin herself says that she has never been there and did not put in the information that was necessary to get this done. I believe in her. And we know that in Abu Jihad's closest security, there were Israeli agents.

- We now know that the Norwegian authorities worked closely with Mossad. It must have made the work difficult for you?

- Yes, we knew about Sifo's relationship with Mossad, it was in the newspapers even then, and Tveit's book confirms that. Frigaard and Mossad were almost Siamese twins. I hope it is a more sober relationship now, that the police offset a more decent approach to these issues.

-Why do you think this information is coming up now?

- The question arises clearly. I know nothing more than others as a basis for speculation. But Israel is probably still wondering who these others that Karin had contact with are. These publications undoubtedly create a pressure on her to tell about the other side, to cleanse herself. It is possible that this comes into play, but I do not want to speculate. She will probably never say who she worked for anyway. By the way, I noticed the PLO's representative on TV a few days ago. He said that it was conceivable that Karin was contacted by their security groups, and remarked that they have more. If that is the cause, then it is pure action.

- Karin has said that she fears for her life. Do you get a lot of inquiries these days, and are you afraid of reactions?

- No, it is you in the media, who are looking for comments. And old friends from the Palestinian community will express their support. Also, neighbors, friends, and former activists find it a little fun to know an agent. There is a certain uncertainty around us. But we have no choice but to live normal lives.

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