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Norwegian subs used in the ''War on Terror'' campaign

by Gjermund E Jansen Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 11:50:07 AM EST

According to the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet (in Norwegian)the Norwegian Navy has been using some of its submarines on intelligence missions in the Mediterranean Sea.  The mission was conducted in 2003 and was part of a NATO-operation called Active Endeavour.  

The mission was at the time secret and the order was to follow and observe certain ships operating illegally from inside the Mediterranean.  The goal was to monitor traffic in and out of the Mediterranean in order to expose illegal activity in collusion with terrorist activities.  The Norwegian subs were part of a bigger intelligence and security operation aimed at uncovering and terrorist transport networks operating at sea from ports in the Mediterranean.  

In the aftermath of this NATO-led operation, political parties opposed to the War on Terror campaign, raised questions in the Norwegian parliament over whether these subs could be counted as partakers in the Iraqi war, but the government and the majority of delegates in the Parliament dismissed these allegations and emphasized that the operations started in 2001, long before the Iraq War, and that they were an extension of the ongoing NATO-operations in Afghanistan.

This article is also available at Bitsofnews.com.


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Most every country does surveillance...and in a certain way, that makes sense. Is there a perception that this is a problem (in Norway, or elsewhere?)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 02:22:31 PM EST
Most people in Norway share that perception. But some people belonging to the Socialist Left Party(SV), a junior partner in the new red-green coalition government, are highly sceptical to the intelligence/security/defence establishment in the country and wants to limit their activities to a minimum.  These people even have the support of some members of parliament. When a government are sending troops to a foreign land in the name of a US led campaign, they are going to work against that decision even if this means working against their own government.

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 06:47:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sad really because this means that they are actually helping the conservative opposition in their efforts to unseat the red-green government.

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 06:57:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But what is the Red/Green government doing now? You say they are new and the operation in question was carried out in 2003...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 07:04:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The operation in question was indeed carried out in 2003, but Operation Endavour are to my knowledge still going on and the questions in Parliament were partly about how this operation was conducted in 2003(under US leadership or NATO leadership-sometimes such operations are conducted under NATO command but under US leadership, confusing? yes i know)and whether Norway was going to take part in such operations in the future.  

The policy of the new red/green coalition has been to withdraw all Norwegian troops from Iraq, a total of about 15 officers, and to focus on the NATO-led operations in Afghanistan instead.  

During the government negotiations the three coalition partners were at odds over whether the Norwegian troops in Afghanistan could partake in the ongoing operation Enduring Freedom or not.  The bone of contention was over whether the US should be allowed to command Norwegian troops or if the troops were to be under NATO command exclusively.  The outcome has been a mix of the two.  All Norwegian forces in Afghanistan are to be under NATO commanded, but in cases of emergency, Norwegian F-16 fighter planes are allowed to assist allied and US forces in need, operating outside NATO jurisdiction.

The oppositional minority fraction within SV is afraid that this in the end could lead to Norwegian troops being used in military operations exclusively under US leadership.  

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 07:36:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We all know the US does not allow US forces to be under foreign command, certainly in a UN mission and possibly even in a NATO operation, although I am not sure about te latter. Either the US operates alongside but independently, or everyone else is ultimately under US command.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 12th, 2005 at 04:05:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the military structure in NATO US troops are formally subordinated all NATO commanders regardless of nationality.  In reality this may differ, but the US troops in the KFOR forces in Kosovo for instance, are now under the command of Lieutenant General Giuseppe Valotto, Italian Army.  

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Sat Nov 12th, 2005 at 10:33:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a technical summary for the ULA class submarine KNM Utvaer that was mentioned in the article.

*
Ula class coastal submarines  (from HazeGray)

Displacement: 1,150 tons submerged
Dimensions: 59 x 5.4 x 4.6 meters/193.6 x 17.7 x 15.1 feet
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, 2 diesels, 1 shaft, 6,000 hp, 23 knots
Crew: 18-20
Sonar: CSU-83 suite, Sintra flank
Armament: 8 21 inch torpedo tubes (14 torpedoes)

Concept/Program: A joint Norwegian-German project; the combat systems are Norwegian, attack sonar is German, flank sonar is French, hull sections were built in Norway, and the boats were assembled in Germany.

Builders: Thyssen Nordseewerke, Emden, Germany.

Number    Name            Year   
S300    Ula            1989
S301    Utsira            1992
S302    Utstein            1991
S303    Utvaer            1990
S304    Uthaug            1991
S305    Uredd            1990

*

There is also a very up to date article at Wikipedia.

I understand that there are disagreements within Norway about the political process that led to this deployement, and I think that type of disagreement is healthy for any democracy.  Nevertheless, I think that this is a good example of how to use military forces to prevent violence before it occurs, and it is very nice to see the NATO allies working together again.

by corncam on Sat Nov 12th, 2005 at 11:21:06 AM EST
Yes, the building of the ULA class submarine is true evidence of multinational cooperation within the defence industry, something that promotes both employment and mutual trade benefits.  

I agree, if military equipment can be used to prevent violence from breaking out then that is the best way to use it.  

This kind of joint intelligence/security operations will be more common in the future as NATO involves itself in so called out-of-area operations.  The big question amongst politicians in the future will be how to define an out-of-area mission.  As of today the definitions of such missions seems to be made at ad-hoc basis with no clear mandate.  One example of such an ad-hoc definition is the use of NATO personell and equipment in Iraq.      

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Sat Nov 12th, 2005 at 12:20:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
good to know that it is such a news in Norway when probably in other countries it would not even casue a blip in the radar. Very interesting to know.

Thanks for the diary

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Nov 12th, 2005 at 12:58:33 PM EST
Thanks!  Usually intelligence issues seldom reaches the public sphere for obvious reasons, but when they do they often sparks off a public debate.

The reason why this one has caused such a debate is that it can be linked to the "War on Terror" campaign, an issue that divides the new red-green cabinet.  

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Sat Nov 12th, 2005 at 02:20:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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