The other Version

mars 6, 2007

According to a report in the Norwegian daily Klassekampen on Tuesday 6 March, the individuals that have been given access to their secret surveillance records will be asked to send “supplementary information” to the Secret Police Archives, which will be added to their files. The time limit for this is two months. Klassekampen quotes Kjell Horn of the Organisation against Political Surveillance (OPO) saying that people should use this opportunity to provide their own versions of what is recorded in their files. “The most important thing is to comment on records that obviously are wrong,” he says, adding that the OPO will offer assistance to individuals that need help to write down their versions. He criticizes the authorities for setting a time limit that in practice will prevent a lot of people from participating.  

Norwegian historian Lars Borgersrud has initiated the project “The other Version” to collect documentation about how people did experience the political surveillance of the post-WW2 decades. He says to Klassekampen that he thinks that an organised action will be necessary to mobilise a vast number of people to present their stories. Borgersrud emphasizes that if people don’t give their versions, the police’s version will prevail. “Then the police’s story will decide if a restaurant visit was just that or a meeting with a KGB agent,” he says.  

This invitation to individuals to rectify their surveillance records is a result of a long-lasting debate on political surveillance in Norway (see my blog The unbearable Truth). When people that had been subject to political surveillance were granted access to their files, there was an outburst of criticism stating that the records were inaccurate and deceitful. After discussing whether incorrect records should be removed or supplemented, the Storting passed a law grating individuals that have been given access to their secret surveillance records the right to supplement these. This is the occasion I know of, that people formally have been given the right to rectify an archive. And it is about time. 

But this is not sufficient. As I stated in my previous blog on this issue, real justice will not win through until the people who have been subject to political surveillance get access to all the documents in their files and the full story of this injustice has been disclosed.  


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