Open letter to Lars Sponheim
by Erik Strand
In febuary, 2004 there was a debate on the internet forum belonging to the Norwegian liberal party. The forum is called: “Talerstolen”. This debate was nothing like any debate seen before on this forum. The discussion started with my contribution 05.02. and ended with a contribution from me 28.02. In this debate the organisastion chief of the liberal party, Runolv Stegane, presented several false allegations. The statements in themself are serious enough, but the most seriuos aspect of it all is the context wich these untruthful statements were made. The liberal party need to show that they as a political party does not support such statements made by its own organisation chief.
The writer of this letter is a board member of Folke-Aksjonen Mot Psykiaternes Overgrep (FAMPO) [Translated into English: the peoples actions against abuse from psychiatrists]. The leader of FAMPO is Mr. Dag Hiåsen, living in Sigdal, where Mr. Stegane after the last election became the the deputy mayor. Mr. Hiåsen has worked for many years representing people who unrighteously have been commited to psychiatric wards, abused and subjected to proven illegal constitutional practise of justice. Mr. Hiåsen himself has been illegally admitted to a psychiatric institution, experienced differential treatment by the social security office, harassed in documents sent to him by the local administration, and terrorised by the local mafia. (This he witnesses in his report, wich I will get back to later).
In the period of april-september, 2000, the local newspaper Bygdeposten printed several articles about what Mr. Hiåsen was able to document regarding abuse of power in Norway. Forexample in the article “The last Soviet state”, people could read about how Sunnmøre police district demanded that Kåre Torvholm and Oddmar Remøy, both with no crimminal records, should be taken in for mental observation. Kåre Torvholm disclosed economical corruption and ecological crimminality in the fishingindustry in Norway. In the article ” Tvangsinnlagt uten grunn” (“admitted to a mental institution with no reason”), Bygdeposten wrote about a woman from Bærum in Norway, that was admitted to a mental hospital, three times withouth legal papers needed for such an admission. According to Norwegian law it is illegal to admit people to a mental institution withouth these papers.
In september the editor of Bygdeposten, Irene Mjøseng was suspended from her job. She was later on fired, and filed a lawsuit against the newspaper, Bygdeposten for firing her without sufficient reason. In the report “Ytringsfrihetens pris, i Det skjulte Norge”, Mr. Hiåsen documented that the county court and the high court, committed several crimminal acts duing their handeling of this case. Giving false evidence and witholding evidence brought forward to the court, and that this was done with crimminal intent.
The report “Ytringsfrihetens pris i Det skjulte Norge”, is about much more than Bygdeposten and the lawsuit. Mr. Hiåsen proves, by quoteing from court documents that the same illegal methods were used in the Kvænangen-case were Svanhild Jensen was sentenced to lose the custody of her two children. And in the newest version of the report, Hiåsen also shows what kind of alligations Mr. Stegane has planted in the Liberal Party internet forum. You can read the report “Ytringsfrihetens pris i Det skjulte Norge”, on this url: http://uprootmedia.org/f.html, or you can order the report directly from FAMPO.
In october, 2003. Mr. Hiåsen contacted the soon-to-be deputy mayor, Runolv Stegane, through telephone and letters. In a letter to the chairman and the deputy chairman Hiåsen use the word double role that according to Mr. Stegane was wrong. Mr. Hiåsen made the mistake of addressing Mr. Stegane as the organising leader of the liberal party, instead of the organising chief of the Liberal Party. Mr. Runolv Stegane replied in a letter dated; 27.01.04, with copies sent to the chairman, chief officer, and the accountant/controlling body; “You, who accuse others of lying, should be careful of putting out accusations that are not even worth the paper it is written on.” Including in this letter, which Mr. Stegane has signed as deputy chairman, several insinuating and tendentious statements were made. Mr. Stegane referred to a earlier meantioned taxclaim and to Mr. Dag Hiåsens duty as a citizen, and wrote the following: “It is not good enough that you in another connection are referring to that you feel stabbed in the back by the local authorities in Sigdal.” Mr. Stegane also writes in his letter to Mr.Hiåsen: “You express yourself with a great sense of certainty, and try to give the impression that you know a lot about social conditions.
In a posting I made on the discussion forum, “Talerstolen”, 05.02. I expressed that it was not appropriate for a deputy mayor who presents himself as a man who works against corruption, to make use of words like; “feeling stabbed in the back”, about proven illegal conditions, in an official document. In this contribution I made it clear what Mr. Hiåsen was faced with from the local council of Sigdal, about the Bygdepost-case, and the report “Ytringsfrihetens pris i Det skjulte Norge”. The answer came quickly. Mr. Stegane wrote, 06.02. that he had registered that I had given him the broadside because he didn`t want to look into Mr. Hiåsens tax-case. According to Mr. Runolv Stegane, I tried to get him to instruct another person in the liberal party, Anne Kristi Marken, working as the chief cashier in Sigdal regarding the tax-case. Mr. Stegane also claimed that Mr. Hiåsen and I wanted to prohibitit politicians to carry out their profession.
The accusations from Mr. Stegane were pure fabrications. I did even stress that nor Mr. Stegane or others should go into the case between Mr. Hiåsen and the local authorities. Mr. Stegane had more accusations up his sleeves, this time about the Bygdepost-case: “Strand is so concerned about playing double roles that he should have noticed that Mr. Hiåsen was the source of some of editor Irene Mjøseng`s miscalculations. Wereupon he then acted as a solicitor and lawyer representing editor Mjøseng in the judicial system. And it was hardly wise to not show up in the courtroom and get a judgment by default, a lost case, and at the same time having the responsibility for a young editor getting into big problems.” Mr. Runolv Stegane had this to say about the “Ytringsfrihetens pris i Det skjulte Norge”: “Regarding the report “Ytringsfrihetens pris” I have to say that I am not impressed at all. The report reeks of accusations about i.e. surveilance. The stories are very imaginative.”
These accusations from Mr. Stegane was not difficult to repudiate. By pointing to appendices to the report, I was able to prove that the court refused Mr. Hiåsen in presenting editor Mjøseng as a solicistor, and that Mr. Hiåsen and Mjøseng in fact did show up in court! Mr. Stegane could not give an account for what kind of miscalculations Mr. Hiåsen was responsible for. The only thing that was meantioned in the report that I gave to Mr. Stegane in 2003, about surveilance, was some quotations from Oddmund Hammerstads book “Oppgjøre med maktspill og overgrep i de hemmelige tjenestene”. There was also a reader`s letter by Radio Modums editor Magne Grønlund, and a allegation from the lawyer representing the newspaper Bygdeposten A/S. The word surveilance was not even used in the report.
Register what kind of characterization you get on Mr. Hiåsens personality by putting togheter Mr. Steganes`s untrue statements (statements that violate Norwegian penal code): A lawyer that does not show up in court and as a consequence is responsible for creating big problems in this young editors career. And also writes a report full of fantasy stories about surveilance.
On February 20th 2004, Mr. Hiåsen wrote on the forum, “Talerstolen” and thoroughly disproved the accusations that Mr. Stegane had planted on the liberal parties internet website. That`s when the debate really took off! All in all, 13 people where involved in the discussion. I will start by giving you Mr. Stegane`s big finale 26.02 kl. 00.46.46: “This is a sad story that could have been avoided if editor Mjøseng had not let herself be brainwashed by persons that acts like religious fanatics with monopoly on the right lore. It is likewise sad to see that Erik Strand, cand. Scient (according to Mr. Hiåsen) has walked straight into the same trap.
While Mr. Runolv Stegane throws around him with accusations about brainwashing, the high court setteled with that the editor had let herself be influenced by FAMPO/Mr. Hiåsen. The high court`s based it`s opinion on ” In this case it looks to the high court as obvious.” “Obvious” used as leagal evidence.
In the same contribution Mr. Stegane writes clearly: “I see that you maintain that you had to correct me. Your assertions does not become more true just because of that. The fact is, that I can put no trust in what you and Mr. Hiåsen writes. You [Strand] really go over the top when you do not wish to discuss the fact that Mr. Hiåsen`s intention was to get me to interfer in his tax-case. You are doing this in spite of the fact that Mr. Hiåsen in his letter of 09.10 refers to a telephone conversation and the meantioned tax-case! I have never in my 20 year in local politics experiences such barefaced behaviour. This also says a lot about the people who claim to be able to disclose the “hidden Norway””.
It`s nice to make use of advanced methods of argumentation when defending ones own lies: “I see that you maintain that you had to correct me. Your assertions does not become more true just because of that”.
28.02 I had to quate the whole letter that Mr. Hiåsen wrote 09.10.03 at the forum “Talerstolen”. In the letter there where no words meantioned non what so ever, about Mr. Hiåsen wanting Mr. Stegane to interfer in his tax-case. The fact of it was that what Mr. Stegane wrote was the most barefaced behaviour Mr. Stegane had ever seen in his 20 year long career in local politics, didn`t exist at all in the letter that Mr. Stegane referred to. After this it got quiet at “Talerstolen”. No more postings from Mr. Stegane turned up.
Mr. Stegane has an important position as chief organizator in the political party where you are a leader. And Mr. Stegane has put out his accusations on the “Talerstolen” wich is the forum of the Liberal Party, and also its property. It is tangible that disinformation, untrue statements and outrages attacks are made by an administrative leader in a party that has the post of ministery of justice. And that htese accusations are made against a person that withouth fear has proved that the freedom of speech has been violated, and miscarriage of justice has been committed.
According to the law it is a serious case to plant untrue statements of the character that Mr. Stegande has done as the chief of organization for the liberal party, and at the liberal parties own forum http://www.venstre.no. It is even worse concidering what this case is all about. Is it the Liberal Party’s intention to put out these untrue accusations against a person that withouth fear has proved that the law of freedom of speech has been broken, and miscarriage of justice has been committed. Are you as a leader of the Liberal Party positive or unconcerned about the smearing that is done against the battle for humanrights in Norway. If you do care, I expect you contact FAMPO, and make a official statement where you tell the public that you do not agree in the accusations that your chief of organization has held against FAMPO and Mr. Hiåsen.
This open letter was sent to Mr. Lars Sponheim by E-mail, with a copy to several persons, on May 7th 2004. No reply ever came from Sponheim. However, on July 12th, Terje Breivik, secretary general of the Liberal Party, wrote an “answer” that had nothing to do with Strand’s open letter. After the local elections in 2007, Runolv Stegane was promoted to deputy mayor in Buskerud county.