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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Norwegian Palestinian activist outed as double agent

A Norwegian Palestinian activist has been outed as a former Mossad spy, this from the BBC
A leading Norwegian pro-Palestinian activist has said she once worked for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad as a double agent.

Karin Linstad, member of the Norwegian Palestine Committee, is said to have provided details of Palestinians in Beirut before Israel's 1982 invasion.

Mrs Linstad gave no further information to the media, but said she was always loyal to the Palestinians.

The information emerged as part of publicity surrounding a book launch.

The book, War and Diplomacy, by Odd Karsten Tveit, is said to identify Mrs Linstad as a former Mossad agent. Norway has long played a role in trying to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Mrs Linstad's husband Trond Ali Linstad, who converted to Islam in the 1980s, told the Associated Press he had been unaware of his wife's activities but had "complete faith that her evaluations were right".
There is more detail in a Swedish paper which fleshes it out a bit more (my translations and paraphrasing):
I was an agent for Mossad on someone else's account, I was a double agent. I regret nothing and would do it all again.
Seems the lady is a leading name in the "Norwegian Palestinian committee" and the revelations have come as a bombshell to "the left" there. According to her she was not approached by Mossad, rather she approached them at the behest of the Palestinian movement but she won't say who exactly. She blames Mossad for the outing, apparently they want to damage her, of course. Of course she'd say that, because now the Palestinian movement wants little to do with her. But we can guess who she fears most...
My loyalty has always been with the Palestinians and still is.
Oh dear, pissed off both Mossad and suicide bomb crews. Not a smart move. The Norwegian intelligence service, PST, refused comment but they previously had very close relations with Mossad according to the report. Apparently what her husband actually said was:
I didn't know the details but it was hinted at from time to time. She asked me 20 years ago how I would react if she worked as a Palestinian agent. I thought it was right and gave her the green light.
So, not exactly unaware really. Good old Beeb, giving him a nice spin like that.

Here is what a Norwegian English paper has
A leading Norwegian pro-Palestinian activist on Thursday claimed she infiltrated the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad as a double agent in the 1980s.

Karin Linstad was a founding member of the Norwegian Palestine Committee, and is married to high-profile Norwegian Muslim Trond Ali Linstad, who converted to Islam in the 1980s.

"I can't go into detail about the people and the organizations," she told The Associated Press. "My starting point and my loyalty has always been with the Palestinian side."

Linstad said she decided to reveal her former role because she is being identified as an agent in the Norwegian book "War and Diplomacy" being published next week.

According to the Norwegian media, the book by state television NRK Middle East correspondent Odd Karsten Tveit identifies Linstad as a former Mossad agent, but does not address any role as a double agent.

Linstad's husband of 32 years said he had be unaware of his wife's activities, but that her being an agent could explain some past incidents.

He said he had no details about her tasks, but that "I have complete faith that her evaluations were right."
What is curious in the entire thing is that there is not much shock-horror element. A citizen actively working as a double agent for two foreign entities would ordinarily evoke some sort of, I dunno, reaction. Is it just me or is it because the "Palestinian" cause has some sort of legitimacy and Mossad here are implicitly painted as the baddies? After all the Norwegian paper headlines it as "Pro-Palestinian activist says she infiltrated Mossad". It's a bit of a stretch to equate working as a foreign spy with "infiltration" of the agency.

One wonders what the reaction would have been if she had actually been working for Mossad against the Palestinians. More than a small storm would erupt I'd imagine.

It also seems that the English reports tend to play down how the husband, the leading Norwegian figure in the "movement" and a convert to Islam, must have strongly suspected what was going on 20 years ago. It slips out in the Swedish quote though.

This Norwegian press report casts a bit more suspicion over her generally
Trond Linstad converted to Islam and took the name Ali in the mid 80s. In 1989 Karin Linstad disapperaed completely from the evironment.

"She disappeared suddenly, and I haven't had contact with her since. One can of course wonder why she disappeared so suddenly," says Holte
Holte was apparently active in this Committee and a good friend to husband and wife Linstad. These details are of course missing in the English prints.

In this one the husband makes no comment at all and refuses to speak.

Posted by Chefen | 10/08/2005 07:42:00 am