By Pia A. Gaarder & David Stenerud
Norwatch has during most of 2002 shown how Norwegian Oil money sponsors the production of mass destruction weapons. The money placed in the american weapons company Lockheed makes the Oil Fund a party to the production of the advanced nuclear missile Trident II D5. Also; through the American industrial giant Honeywell International, Norwegian oil money contributs to the production of the actual nuclear warheads.
The last big investigation into Norwegians’ view on nuclear weapons took place in 1998. It was carried out by 4-Fakta AS, on behalf of the organisation Norske leger mot atomvåpen (NLA), the national branch of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), who received the Nobel Peace Price in 1985.
The investigation showed that the vast majority, regardless of political preferencies, want the government to work actively towards an international ban on nuclear weapons. An astonishing 92 percent answered that they want an international ban, while a mere 5 percent thought working towards a ban is not the right way to go. 49 percent was of the oppinion that a ban would increase security, while 8 percent thought safty would decrease.
The result of the investigation corresponds well with polls from other countries. 87 percent in the US and the UK, 93 percent in Canada, and 87% in Gemany want politacal talks with the aim of having a neclear weapons-free world.
Professor Kirsten Osen of NLA told NorWatch that the Norwegian attitude is unlikely to have changed sinse the 1998 poll.
- In the mean time, the conflict between India and Pakistan has again made the problem highly relevant. The new disarmament treaty between the US and Russia does not meet the commitments of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty on the total abolition of nuclear weapons. The risk of a war initiated by accident is still unchanged, and the development of smaller, more presice "mini-nukes" lowers the threshold for using nuclear weapons, said Osen.
Facts: The great Oil Fund debate 2002
April 11: NorWatch disclosed that the Oli Fund has invested 103 million Norwegian kroner (NOK) into General Dynamics, which is involved in the manufacturing of cluster bombs.
April 11: Minister of Finance, Mr. Per-Kristian Foss said he would investigate the NorWatch findings.
April 17: Øystein Djupedal of the Social Left Party addressed the matter during the weekly oral session in the Parliament (Stortinget). Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik responded that the Gorvernment had asked the special Petroleum Fund International Law council to evaluate the possibility of expanding the so-callet Uttrekksmekanismen ("Pull-out mechanism"; criteria which, if met, represent reasons for the Oil Fund management to pull out investments, ed. note).
May 4: NorWatch disclosed that the Oil Fund has invested into the nuclear weapons industry: 131 million NOK have been put into the arms giant Lockheed Martin. Dagbladet Magasinet used the case to jump start a lengthy article series about the investments of the Oil Fund.
May 7: In connection with the revised national budget, the Government directed the attention towards the Petroleum Fund International Law council and presented a plan to expand the framework of the Pull-out mechanism so that it would include also the ILO convention regarding the worst forms of child labour (slavery, sex trade, grave health risk and child soldiers), as well as the UN Child Convention, paragraphs 34 and 35.
May 7: Norwegian major tabloid Dagbladet states in an editorial that the introduction of ethical guidlines for the Oil Fund is a political, not a practical, matter.
May 8: Øystein Djupedal challenges Minister of Finance Per-Kristian Foss during the weekly oral session in the Parliament on the plans to strengthen the Pull-out mechanism: Ethical guidelines are neccessary, because the Pull-out mechanism merely enables us correct unfortunate money placements after they have been done - that is "after Dagbladet, NorWatch or SV ... have exposed what the Oli Fund have invested in."
May 9: NorWatch report its findings that the Oil Fund has in fact invested into even more nuclear arms production - this time through the its 177 million NOK investment into the american weapons giant Honeywell International.
May 10: Norwegian daily Bergens Tidende refers to NorWatch’s findings in an editorial, demading ethical guidelines for the Oil Fund.
Norwatch Newsletter 7-8/02