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This website deals with human rights violation by police and police criminality in general, and with police stalking in particular. The emphasis is on Northern Europe, with special attention to the situation in Norway and the Netherlands. Despite having some of the best democratic credentials in the world, Northern Europe has in recent decades seen a growth of untraditional police methods that violate some of the most basic principles of modern Western judicial philosophy as it has developed since the Enlightenment. Foremost among these are various practices that can be commonly referred to as police stalking.

This new focus involves a shift of geographical frame of reference after historiae.org covered the Middle East and Iraq in particular since 2005. However, some of the main themes remain the same: Constitutionalism, the rule of law, and how extra-judicial punishment constitutes a threat to the very idea of modern democracy. It was easy to dismiss the de-Baathification affair prior to the Iraqi elections back in 2010 as a concoction by Iraqi politicians, entirely lacking a legal basis. Compared to what most people think is the exemplary rule of law ideal of the Western world, Iraq certainly came across as primitive. However, after having witnessed a shocking and grotesque case of extra-judicial punishment operation carried out by the Norwegian police against an academic scholar – and having seen that operation also expanded to involve harassment and outright persecution in several other European and North American countries for now more than 500 days running – I can no longer dole out criticism of the rule of law situation in Iraq with a straight face without also making some comments on the situation in Northern Europe. It does not make sense to me anymore to chat about human rights issues in Iraq with representatives of Western governments that are themselves involved in both harassment and outright torture.

The fact is that many of the same rule of law problems that characterised the de-Baathification campaign in Iraq in 2010 can be seen in certain contemporary, untraditional policing methods in Northern Europe – and in police stalking in particular. This is an approach that involves gross violations of basic principles of modern judicial philosophy such as the presumption of innocence, the right to appear before a court, and the freedom for punishment for something that is not defined as illegal by law. These are principles that were all central to modern judicial thought as it emerged with the Enlightenment in eighteenth century Europe.

The writings on this subject will discuss different patterns of police stalking in different countries, theoretical problems relating to police stalking as a policing method in a modern democracy, and the way in which a society that acquiesces in authoritarian policing will gradually lose its democratic identity.

Available articles:

An Introduction to Police Stalking

Police Stalking in the Netherlands: Persoonsgericht Verstoren and other Disturbance Methods

Police Stalking in Norway: “Step by Step Pursuit”

When Police Stalking Goes Awry: An Example of a Multi-National Harassment Operation

This site is maintained by Reidar Visser who has a background in history and comparative politics (University of Bergen) and a doctorate in Middle Eastern studies (University of Oxford). He has been a research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs since 1996. He can be contacted via e-mail. CV here.



Public lectures, past and upcoming

Washington, DC, Middle East Institute, 7 December 2010

San Diego, CA, MESA 2010, 21 November 2010

Rome, Italian Senate/NATO parliamentary assembly, 27 June 2010

London, Royal Holloway College, 31 March 2010

London, British Academy, 17–19 March 2010

Washington, DC, Stimson Center/Russell Senate Office Building, 12 March 2010

Kuwait City, Eurogolfe Forum, 8 March 2010

Washington, DC, The Jamestown Foundation, 4 March 2010

Washington, DC, NDU, 8 December 2009

Boston, MA, MESA 2009, 21–24 November 2009

Bloomington, IN, Indiana University, 13 November 2009

Brussels, Palace of the Academies, 30 September–2 October 2009

London, British Academy, 2 June 2009

College Park, MD, University of Maryland, 2 May 2009

Paris, CERI, 27–29 April 2009

Kuwait City, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, 25 March 2009

Washington, DC, USIP, 3 March 2009

London, CISS, 19 February 2009

New York, ISA 2009, 16 February 2009

London, Chatham House, 10 February 2009

Annapolis, MD, US Naval Academy, 28 January 2009

Washington, DC, MESA 2008, 22–25 November 2008

Geneva, IHEID, 6 November 2008

Washington, DC, Georgetown University, 28 October 2008

Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 23 May 2008

Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 24–26 April 2008

Washington, DC: USIP, 29 January 2008
Copenhagen: Danish Institute for International Studies, 25 January 2008
Washington, DC: George Washington University, 15 January 2008
Ann Arbor, Mi.: University of Michigan, 13 January 2008
Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago, 11 January 2008
Washington, DC: The Jamestown Foundation, 5 December 2007
Montreal: MESA, 17 November 2007
Istanbul: TAARII & Hollings Center, 28 October 2007
Bristol: University of Bristol, 13 July 2007
Vienna: Kreisky Forum, 18 June 2007
Como, Italy: Landau Network, 24 November 2006
Washington, DC: USIP, 17 October 2006
Exeter: University of Exeter, 5 July 2006