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Salute to murderers

SPEAKING OF STATE LEADERS / Here are some of the darkest chapters in Norwegian press history in the intimate flirtation with fascism in the thirties – where Adolf Hitler's rise to power was welcomed. Moreover, later, a Norwegian prime minister paid tribute to Nixon, while the United States was behind abuse after abuse.

(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)

By Kjell Cordtsen
ORIENTERING Nov. 1972, responsible editor

If we flip back to old newspaper vintages – to the 30s – we find a Norway that barely exists in posterity's version of what happened.

The period contains some of the darkest chapters in Norwegian press history, and it shows us industrial leaders, politicians and parties in intimate flirtation with fascism and the reaction outside Europe.

In foreign policy, it was the relationship with Germany that dominated. Among the actors we find the entire leadership of the conservative press, who welcomed Adolf Hitler's rise to power. (Ranik Halle, until quite recently head of the Høyre's press office, then editor of the Federation's organ ABC, even demanded the peace prize for Mussolini and Hitler.)

The prisoners of the concentration camps worked, were satisfied and in fact had never been safer and better.

Tribute by Hitler and Franco

We find the president of Norway's Confederation of Industry who made a pilgrimage to the German Chamber of Commerce with a lecture in which he praised Hitler for saving Europe from Bolshevism. And we find again and again Aftenposten, which on its 75th birthday allowed itself to be courted by Hitler's propaganda minister, Dr. Goebbels. Aftenposten then sent its foreign staff member, later foreign editor Niels J. Mürer, to "the new Germany", from where he could report that the concentration camp prisoners were satisfied with their work, and in fact had never been safer and better.

We also find the blood-stained documents about Carl von Ossietzky, the peace fighter and pacifist, who, half killed in a Nazi concentration camp, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, to the accompaniment of a unanimous roar of protest from Goebbels, Aftenposten, Morgenbladet, Sjøfartstidende, Nationen and their political accomplices.

And we see that when Franco stormed the Spanish Republic, effectively supported by his fascist comrades in arms in Germany and Italy, he also found eager defense lawyers in the same Norwegian press. This was while Norwegian shipowners were sailing with supplies to the fascist rebel ports, and the Shipowners' Association, the Industrial Association and the Norwegian Trade Association were eager for Norwegian representation in the Franco-occupied areas.

Aftenposten

These are some of the disgraces from a period that few today in 1972 would know about, and that very few people between 15 and 45 actually know about.

Between the 30s and those lies April 9, 1940. The period of occupation created in many quarters a feeling of national community, and an ideology of cooperation took shape, with foreign and military policy "raised above the parties". One forgot in order to be reconciled. All together became Democrats.

Aftenposten was able, with an almost imperceptible change in its editorial views, to let the fight against Bolshevism come first as the Cold War developed. Sigurd Konstad, the man who once praised Adolf Hitler for reacting "with the instincts of a free man" to the German labor movement, and who supported Franco and his fascists with the certificate "Spain's best elements", was soon back as the newspaper's foreign editor.

Carl von Ossietzky was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, to the accompaniment of a unanimous roar of protest from Goebbels, Aftenposten, Morgenbladet, Sjøfartstidende and Nationen.

No one should be surprised that this press allowed itself to be engaged in a crusade against anything that could in any way resemble "communism". Nor should anyone be surprised that leading social democrats within the framework of such an alliance allowed themselves to be influenced to shelve once and for all the old ideas of class struggle and exploitation.

Vietnam War

Norway supported France's colonial war in Indochina. The NATO Council unanimously adopted, and with the support of the Norwegian social democrats Lange and Gerhardsen, a resolution in which they express "their wholehearted admiration" for this war. The Norwegian social democrats had indeed come to the conclusion "that the resistance of the free nations in South-East Asia, such as in Korea, is in the deepest harmony with the goals and ideals of the Atlantic community".

Such statements bound and obliged. Co-responsibility, negligence and passivity have since characterized the official Norwegian attitude to the Vietnam War in its changing phases – from the French Foreign Legion's ravages to the systematic genocide of the United States under Presidents Johnson and Nixon.

Today, any reasonably well-equipped right-wing boy will feel uncomfortable when confronted with ideology and behavior from the 30s, including the warnings of the then Prime Minister Jens Hundseid against turning "our country into an international dustbin, purely racially biologically". But Prime Minister Lars Korvald can still now in 1972 send the following telegram to President Nixon, without LO or the bishops' college going on a protest march for that reason:

"On behalf of the Norwegian government and myself, I ask you to receive the best congratulations on your re-election as President of the United States. The Norwegian government looks forward to continuing the close and friendly cooperation with your government. I wish you every success in your high office and in your efforts to promote peace in the world and international cooperation".

This was read in the Norwegian press at the same time as Korvald's life organ Folkets Framtid reproduced an interview with the prime minister under the title: "Lars Korvald – an apostle of fairness".

And since matter-of-factness is always to stick to the case, we shall here present some scarce facts about the man and the regime the apostle has addressed his telegram to:

In the period 1965–1971, the USA dropped eight million tonnes of bombs over Indochina – most of them over Vietnam. This violent concentration of bombs over a country the size of Norway is 3,5 times greater than the bomb load that fell over all theaters of war during the Second World War.

genocide

Out of a population of the whole of Indochina of an estimated 45 million, 4,5 million – that is 10 percent – ​​of the civilian population were killed or seriously injured. (The international commission to investigate US war crimes, under Gunnar Myrdal's leadership, has calculated that 1 in 15 civilians have been wounded and 1 in 35 killed.)

In addition to the civilian victims, there are also those who have been killed in regular hostilities.

This is the genocide i Vietnam.

Cultural murder

In addition, more than 10 million people – a quarter of the population – have been displaced by the fighting or forcibly relocated as part of the US "pacification programme". This huge group of refugees and deportees has been interned in so-called strategic villages or crammed together in metropolitan slums.

In this way, the occupiers have brutally torn up the social structure of the ancient farming community and created unmanageable social and psychological problems.

This is cultural murder i Vietnam.

Environmental murder

Furthermore, the US – in addition to bombing hospitals, schools, residential areas, dams and industry in this poor country – has also sprayed Vietnam with toxic chemicals, the full impact of which we do not yet know. Between 80 and 100 million liters of toxins have been used – to destroy the crops and remove the leaves from the trees.

Almost a fifth of the forest areas in South Vietnam have been sprayed, and over 160 million tonnes of rice have been destroyed.

Other forest areas have been razed to the ground by bulldozers and explosive bombs – and close to 30 million bomb craters filled with water have created ideal conditions for the hatching of malaria mosquitoes.

This is environmental murder i Vietnam.

America's crimes against humanity

Not enough is yet known about the genetic effects of America's poison war. But it has already been possible to ascertain an excess of birth defects and cancer.

(One of the pesticides the US Air Force has east over Vietnam – the so-called T-2-4-5 – is banned in Scandinavia because of its carcinogenic effect.)

Napalm sticks ever more effectively to the skin as it burns, and shrapnel bombs that penetrate the body with dozens of small, almost invisible projectiles are the second of America's contributions to the list of crimes against humanity.

- This is perhaps worse than the persecution of Jews, even though it was believed that nothing could get worse, writes the editor-in-chief of the LO-owned Aftonbladet, Gunnar Fredriksson, about this warfare.

The warnings from Prime Minister Jens Hundseid against turning "our country into an international dustbin, purely racially biologically".

More of these war crimes have taken place during Nixon's presidency than in any previous period. More bombs have fallen on Indochina since he took over than during Lyndon B. Johnson's entire tenure.

It is this man that Norway's prime minister and government "look forward to continuing the close and friendly cooperation with". It is to this man that Norway's prime minister – the apostle of objectivity – attributes high-quality "efforts to create peace in the world".

This telegram is more than a courtesy call. It is a short and concise summary of Norwegian lack of imagination and commitment on the international level – a shameful support in line with the 1930's recklessness towards fascism and reaction.

In this situation, our line must be: never to give up in the fight for a new recognition and a new solidarity.

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