Norwegian government targets immigrants and asylum seekers

Jordan Shilton

Deportees: Neda Ibrahim and her family in Irbid, Jordan.

In a court ruling on November 8, Norway’s previous coalition government made up of the Labour Party, Socialist Left (SV) and Centre Party was found to have broken the law in its deportation of a family of six in June this year.

The case concerned the Ibrahim family, who had lived in Norway for a decade. The parents are Palestinian refugees and some of their children were born in Norway. Their eldest daughter, Neda, was twelve years old when they were deported and had lived in Norway since she was two, attending school for six years. But their applications for asylum had been repeatedly refused, with authorities questioning the parents’ background and claiming they were Jordanian nationals.

On June 9, the police launched a raid on the family home in the early hours of the morning and forced them to leave. The family were bundled on the next flight to Amman with only those belongings they could carry.

British court ruling on data seized from Miranda paves way for criminal prosecutions

Jordan Shilton

Gwendolen Morgan, a lawyer for David Miranda, speaks to
journalists outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Both this ruling and Miranda’s latest hearing demonstrate the vast erosion of democratic and legal principles which has taken place under the so-called war on terror.

Britain’s high court ruled Friday that the government could continue to examine data seized from David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glen Greenwald, when he was detained at Heathrow airport earlier in August. The order will remain in force until a full judicial hearing scheduled for late October.

The judgement allows investigations of data in order to determine if Miranda had committed a criminal offence under the Terrorism Act 2000, the Official Secrets Act 1911, or the Official Secrets Act 1989. The ruling expanded the powers of the police, who had previously only been able to consider offences under the Terrorism Act, creating the conditions for the preparation of charges against Miranda and his partner Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald.

The aim of such a prosecution would be to launch a further clampdown on democratic rights. British ruling circles have responded furiously to the exposure of their criminal spying operations carried out in collaboration with the United States and are intent on intimidating into silence anyone seeking to reveal further details. This has already been shown by their aggressive actions towards the Guardian newspaper, which had possession of thousands of classified documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

European Union imposes bank bailout on Cyprus

Jordan Shilton & Chris Marsden

EU officials insist on installing an economic dictatorship over the Cypriot economy.

The Cypriot government and the European Union (EU) arrived at an agreement early yesterday morning to secure a bailout of Cypriot banks and avert state bankruptcy in Cyprus.

The terms set by the bailout amount to the economic devastation of the island country in the interests of Europe’s financial elite. Cyprus’s financial sector, accounting for around half of economic output, will immediately be reduced by up to half. Laiki bank, the second largest, is to be wound up with its debts to the ECB taken on by the Bank of Cyprus. Further losses are inevitable, as banking done in Cyprus is shifted to other euro zone countries’ banks.

The dictates of the EU and the criminal financial practices of Cyprus’s ruling elite alike have paved the way for massive attacks on working people. With unemployment at more than 14 percent, there will inevitably be thousands of job losses in banking, Cyprus’s main employer, and from restructured companies and privatised services.

The bailout, which is massively opposed by the Cypriot population, is to be imposed without a vote in the Cypriot parliament. To this end, the original proposal to impose a levy on bank deposits, which had been rejected by the Cypriot parliament, was removed from the final agreement. The new plan provides for the freezing of all deposits over €100,000 to cover the bailout. Depositors and shareholders in Laiki will see their assets transferred to a “bad bank” and could lose everything.

These measures, together with a privatisation programme and tax increases, are projected to raise the €7 billion Cyprus has been ask to contribute to the €17 billion bailout from the EU, ECB and International Monetary Fund.

Europe in crisis as Cyprus faces national bankruptcy

Jordan Shilton & Chris Marsden

The vote by Cyprus’s parliament Tuesday evening to reject the terms of the European Union (EU) bailout agreed last Saturday has deepened a crisis which threatens to spread across Europe, posing the risk of national bankruptcy.

Thirty-six parliamentarians voted against the deal, while 19 abstained and none voted in favour. The initial bailout plan would have charged investors with deposits in Cypriot bank accounts a tax of 9.9 percent for those with account balances of more than €100,000, and 6.75 per cent for those with balances between €25,000 and 100,000. This would have raised €5.8 billion to support the proposed €10-billion-euro EU bailout for Cyprus’ banks.

With thousands gathered outside parliament to protest, a last-minute adjustment to exempt those with less than €20,000 from the levy had no impact.

President Nikos Anastasiades called an emergency meeting of all political parties to work on a “Plan B.” But a proposed alternative it drew up yesterday was rejected by the troika—the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The total collapse of Cyprus’s financial system is being avoided only by the continued closure of the banks, which will now be kept shut until next Tuesday. The stock market also announced on Tuesday it would close for two days, amid fears that investors would withdraw large quantities of capital.

Norwegian mass murderer Breivik sentenced to 21 years

Jordan Shilton

The desire to absolve the political elite in Norway and Europe of any responsibility for the systematic promotion of far-right ideas was the main driving force of the official cover-up.

The Oslo District Court yesterday ruled that fascist mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik was sane and handed down the maximum sentence of 21 years imprisonment for his twin terrorist attacks on July 22, 2011. A mass shooting of social democratic youth on the island of Utøya and an earlier car bomb led to the deaths of 77.

Announcing the decision, Judge Elisabeth Arntzen sentenced Breivik to “preventive detention”, which means the period of his jail term can be extended as long as he is deemed a danger to society.

The ruling does not alter the fact that Breivik’s trial was the culmination of an official cover-up set in motion the day of his arrest. The question of his sanity, which dominated the trial, was a diversion introduced to prevent an honest examination of what was clearly a politically motivated crime. There is every possibility that the killings were carried out with the aid of far-right sympathisers across Europe.

Fascist Anders Breivik defends mass killings as trial opens in Norway

Jordan Shilton

Evidence continues to mount of Breivik’s links with right-wing groups throughout Europe, contradicting the official presentation of him as a “lone wolf”.

On day two of his trial, Anders Breivik gave an hour-long defence of his slaughter of 77 people—mainly members of the Norwegian Labour Party youth section—in Oslo and the island of Utøya last July 22 and said that he would do it again.

Calling his massacre “the most sophisticated and spectacular political attack” in Europe since the Second World War, Breivik described himself as commander in an anti-communist, anti-Islamic “resistance” movement, at war against immigrants, Muslims and what he called a “Marxist dictatorship” in Norway.

Despite Breivik’s own insistence on the political nature of his crime, the preceding investigation and the trial itself are largely focused on the question of the killer’s sanity. Just days before the trial opened, a second report by court-appointed psychiatrists declared that Breivik should not be considered criminally insane, contradicting a previous assessment in November 2011.

The latest report was compiled over several months by two psychiatrists who conducted interviews with Breivik and observed his activity over long periods of time. But it by no means settles the question of Breivik’s sanity in the eyes of the court.

With two conflicting reports now having been presented, the court could yet conclude that the level of doubt about Breivik’s mental state is sufficient to declare him criminally insane. This would result in his serving his detention in a mental health institution rather than in prison.

The debate has served to obscure numerous questions over the role of the state and security forces in failing to prevent Breivik’s attacks. In January, it emerged that Breivik had warned Norwegian police in March 2011 that he was preparing a massacre of Labour Party youth members. This information was supposedly not communicated to the relevant authorities until after July 22.

This came on top of revelations about the failure of the intelligence services to detect Breivik’s purchase of large quantities of fertiliser from Poland, as well as their failure to investigate a farm which he rented on the outskirts of Oslo, where he prepared his attacks. The head of Norway’s intelligence service was compelled to resign as a result.

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