While conducting research on the Mario Bachand assassination, which lead up with the publication of “Last Stop, Paris”, I conducted many interviews, in Canada and abroad. Many were of retired intelligence officers, and others from the secret world. Some of what I learned had no direct relation to Mario Bachand or to the FLQ, but was interesting nonetheless. Including of what I learned of an event in Norway, in 1970, that involved a certain foreign intelligence service. It told me much of what was going on in Norway at the time. Goings on that remains quite unknown to the Norwegian public. Including what lies behind the finding of a women’s body, severely burned, in the mountains near Bergen, Norway, on the 29th of November, 1970. With no identification, all removed including tags on clothing, she became known, from the name of the valley where her body was found, as the Isdal woman, in Norwegian, Isdalskvinnen. The content of two suitcases she had left in the Bergen railway station shortly before she set off on her final, fatal walk in the nearby mountains only deepened the mystery. A coded list that revealed she had traveled to several towns in Norway, Basel and Geneva in Switzerland, Paris, Rome, Brussels and London, registering at hotels under eight false names, with eight false passports, clothing with all tags removed, several pairs of glasses with non-corrective lenses, wigs, makeup. Her true name, what she was doing in Norway at the time, and how she ended up dead on a remote mountainside near Bergen, remains a mystery to this day.
A mystery so compelling that Norway’s public television authority (NRK), and the BBC, conducted a two-year investigation into the affair, and produced, under the excellent podcast, Death in Ice Valley. One might begin with an intoduction, presented by NRK’s Marit Higraff, The Preview: Clues and Riddles. A caution: once you begin, the Isdal Woman will never leave you.
However, despite the in-depth investigation by NRK and the BBC, the mystery of the Isdal Woman remains. Remains, since the Norwegian Secret Police and the Norwegian authorities have been economical with the truth, and have employed disinformation and intoxication for that purpose. Deception and intoxication as employed by the RCMP and Canadian authorities to hide the truth of the assassination of Mario Bachand.
The Norwegian criminal police, quite apart from the secret police, have been prevented from fully solving the crime, and from disclosing what they know.
I happened to fall upon Death in Ice Valley, and found the story, and the mystery, very compelling. It also made me think of what I learned several years ago, during an interview with a retired Canadian intelligence officer, about a certain event in Norway in 1970. Of how the investigation into the death of the Isdal Woman so illuminates that of Mario Bachand. And about those who, I am now quite sure, know everything about the Isdal Woman, her life, what she was doing in Norway, and how she came to die that day. And her name.
I can suggest who they are, and who those investigating the Isdal Woman’s story might talk to.
I think also that NRK inquiries, under journalist Marit Higraff, and the BBC, have ignored a vital path in their inquiries and that they have not yet succeeded in solving the Isdal Woman mystery accordingly, that is, have not yet found her name, history, what she was doing in Norway, who killed her, and why. Not that what they have to date learned is not helpful, even essential, to reaching a complete resolution. But there was a further step they have not taken. I believe it was their very sophistication, their abundant technical means, and perhaps their status as state broadcasters, that has brought them to an impasse.
I say this when the story is considered in light of what was told to me that day, of a certain event, and what it says of what was going on in Norway in 1970. And what was going on in Norway in 1970, with respect to the Isdal Woman, had everything to do with the Middle East. But permit me to mention the first rule of investigation: believe in serendipity, or, anything can happen.