Sunday, July 24, 2011

“Er denne det ny Norge? Is This The New Norway?”

“Er denne det ny Norge? Is This The New Norway?”

The Norwegian police on Saturday charged a man they identified as a right-wing fundamentalist Christian in connection with a bombing in central Oslo and a mass shooting on a nearby island that together killed at least 92 people.
The New York Times

THE FOLLOWING is a timeline of events during the Friday attacks on a Norwegian government building and a political retreat for young people, according to police and eyewitnesses. All times are Norwegian.

3:26 p.m.: A car bomb explodes outside the prime minister's office in central Oslo.
4:50 p.m.: Vacationers at a campground begin to hear shooting across the lake on Utoya, an island where the youth wing of the Labor Party is being held.
5:38 p.m.: SWAT team is dispatched from Oslo. It drives, deciding that starting a police helicopter would take longer.
By 6 p.m.: The team arrives at the lake, but it struggles to find a boat to cross over.
6:20 p.m.: The SWAT team arrives on the island.
6:35 p.m.: Suspect puts down weapons and surrenders to police.

OSLO, Norway — The Norwegian police on Saturday charged a man they identified as a right-wing fundamentalist Christian in connection with a bombing in central Oslo and a mass shooting on a nearby island that together killed at least 92 people.
As stunned Norwegians grappled with the deadliest attack in the country since World War II and a shocking case of homegrown terrorism, a portrait began to emerge of the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, 32, as a gun-loving, highly religious Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threat of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration to the cultural and patriotic values of his country.
"We are not sure whether he was alone or had help," a police official, Roger Andresen, said at a news conference. "What we know is that he is right-wing and a Christian fundamentalist."
The horror of the attack on a political summer camp on Utoya island, a remarkably meticulous attack on Norway's current and future political elite, also came into focus Saturday. Utoya is a wooded retreat accessible only by boat about 19 miles northwest of Oslo.
Police had arrived at the island massacre about an hour and a half after a gunman first opened fire, slowed because they didn't have quick access to a helicopter and then couldn't find a boat to make their way to the scene just several hundred yards offshore. The assailant surrendered when police reached him, but at least 85 people died before that.
Footage filmed from a helicopter that showed the gunman firing into the water added to the impression that police were slow to the scene. They chose to drive, Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim said, because their helicopter wasn't on standby.
When the tall, blond-haired man dressed in a police uniform arrived on the island he apparently beckoned unsuspecting camp-goers over to him, telling them he wanted to talk about the explosion in Oslo.
News of the blast had already reached Utoya; the retreat's leaders had called an informational meeting about it, so that attendees could call their families to make sure they were all right.
Then the gunman drew his weapons and opened fire. Campers screamed and scattered.
Adrian Pracon had been trying to swim to safety when he saw the killer point his weapon at him. "Please, no, please!" Pracon screamed. No bullet came.
Now, sprawled face down on a half-submerged rock, trying to play dead, the 21-year-old sensed the shooter standing almost directly above him, so close that he could feel the heat of the weapon. As the gunman fired at other youths lying on the island's shore, Pracon kept still — even when a shot grazed his shoulder. That apparently convinced the attacker that Pracon was already dead and to move on.
"It was as though he had done this kind of thing before, as if going around and shooting people was totally normal," Pracon told Norway's Aftenposten newspaper. "He said, 'You're all going to die.' "
Several witnesses gave accounts to news media of how the gunman would mow down bystanders in a hail of bullets, then coolly pull out his pistol to finish off the wounded and dying who lay heaped on the ground.
Police said late Saturday that they expected the death toll to climb. There were still bodies in the bombed government buildings in Oslo, where at least seven people had been confirmed dead, and at least four people were missing on Utoya.
Police said this was an "Oklahoma City-type" bombing in downtown Oslo: It targeted a government building, was allegedly perpetrated by a homegrown assailant and used the same mix of fertilizer and fuel that blew up a federal building in the U.S. in 1995.
The police also said that unexploded munitions were still in some downtown Oslo buildings, and they had not ruled out the possibility that Breivik had accomplices.
The police are working on the assumption that Breivik, having drawn security services to central Oslo when he exploded a car bomb outside government offices, traveled to Utoya island dressed as a police officer. Once there, he said he had come to check on the security of the young political campers, gathered them together and proceeded to shoot them and then hunt down those who fled.
Norwegian analysts said that right-wing groups were very small, having shrunk considerably since the 1990s, and had been quiet. Even the Progress Party, which began as an anti-tax protest and has been stridently anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim in the past, has moved more to the center, to the point that it is seen as a potential coalition partner for the Conservative Party in the 2013 general election.
Breivik had been a member of the Progress Party but quit in 2006, disappointed by its move toward moderation; his Internet postings also indicate contempt for the Conservative Party. He said it had given up a serious battle against multiculturalism, which he said was diluting the nation's character. He also criticized the government for spending too little of Norway's oil wealth at home.
Joran Kallmyr, Oslo's vice mayor for transport and a member of the Progress Party, said he met Breivik several times in 2002 and 2003 at local party meetings. "He was very quiet, almost a little bit shy," Kallmyr said. "But he was a normal person with good behavior. He never shared any extreme thoughts or speech with us. There was absolutely no reason to expect that he could do something like this. We're very shocked."
Police said Breivik had registered a farm in Rena, in eastern Norway, which the authorities said allowed him to order a large quantity of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, an ingredient that can be used to make explosives.
Earlier Friday, a farm-supply store said they had alerted police that Breivik bought six metric tons of fertilizer, which can be used in homemade bombs. That's at least one metric ton more than was found at the farm, according to police.
"This is the Norwegian equivalent to Timothy McVeigh," the right-wing American who blew up a government building in Oklahoma City in 1995, said Marcus Buck, a political scientist at the University of Tromso in northern Norway.
"This is right-wing domestic terrorism, and the big question is to what extent Norwegian agencies have diverted their attention from what they knew decades ago was the biggest threat" and instead focused on threats from militant Islamist groups.
The authorities recognized in terrorism reports as recently as March that threats could come from tiny right-wing groups, Buck said.
But the reports emphasized the dangers of radical Islam, groups opposed to Norway's participation in NATO operations in Afghanistan and now Libya, economic espionage against the country's resources and technology assets and potential threats to Norwegian dignitaries.
But Anders Romarheim, at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies, said in some ways the homegrown nature of the terror made it harder. "With 9/11 in America, people could ask, 'Who are they?' and could pour their rage out on someone else. But we can't disavow this person; he's one of us. That's a sobering thought."
He added: "It was international jihadism that we feared. But what we have now is more painful in terms of a re-evaluation of ourselves."
Breivik was being questioned under the country's terrorism laws, police said, and was cooperating with the investigation.
"He has stated that it was cruel that he had to perform these actions, but in his mind it was necessary," defense attorney Geir Lippestad told reporters as he left the police station late Saturday night, Verdens Gang reported.

Anders Behring Breivik posted online about 'Somali immigrants with full Norwegian passports'

He had no military background or criminal record

Norway's lax gun laws allowed him to buy two firearms

As a farmer, he could buy fertiliser to make bombs without arousing suspicion

He had made contact with the EDL and other far-right organizations

The sight of Anders Behring Breivik – tall, clean-cut and dressed in a police uniform – must have at first seemed a reassuring presence to the young members of Norway’s governing Labour Party when they encountered him at their summer camp on the island of Utoya.

Until the moment he opened fire. Now the 32-year-old who reportedly shot dead at least 85 victims in cold blood, and killed another seven with the Oslo bomb, has emerged as a Right-wing extremist bitterly opposed to Norway’s tradition of open-minded liberalism.

His internet postings betray a hatred of multi-culturalism and include offensive references to ‘Somali immigrants with full Norwegian passports’ living off state benefits and sending money home to their Muslim relatives.

Little is known about his early life, however, and there is no clue so far as to why he should have resorted to such terrible acts of violence.

Breivik is thought to have grown up in comfortable circumstances and until recently lived with his mother Wenche in an affluent Oslo suburb. He studied at the city’s School of Management, which offers degrees and postgraduate courses, but it is not clear what qualification, if any, he obtained. 

His former landlady in the Skoyen district of the city said last night: ‘I cannot believe he was capable of doing such a thing.’
And a man living in the same block of flats said: ‘He did not appear to be interested in speaking to people and would just walk past neighbours. I got the impression he was a mummy’s boy who did not want to leave home because he had it so good.’

Breivik had no military background beyond the national service all young Norwegians are obliged to undertake. Nor did he have a criminal record and police say they knew nothing of him until his arrest on Friday.

He was the registered holder of two weapons – a Glock pistol and an automatic rifle – both of which are thought to have been used in the massacre at Utoya.

Breivik moved out of Oslo two years ago and bought a farm in the town of Ostre Asta, where he set up an agricultural enterprise dealing in vegetables, melons, roots and tubers. The farm consists of a scattering of outbuildings on a grassy slope leading down to a forest-fringed lake.

It was in this tranquil setting, police believe, that Breivik planned his devastating attacks. Using the farm business as cover, he placed an order for six tons of fertiliser with a local supplier two months ago. Oddny Estenstad, a spokeswoman for the supply firm, said he seemed like any other customer. 

‘He contacted us in the normal manner, ordered fertiliser and had it delivered,’ he said.

The Norwegian police and security services are investigating possible links between Breivik and European far-Right groups, including the English Defence League.

He is thought to have posted messages on a Norwegian website expressing admiration for the EDL and an extremist group called Stop Islamification of Europe.

It is Breivik’s online profile that has provided the authorities with  most information about him so far.

His Facebook page, which was blocked soon after the killings, listed his interests as bodybuilding, ‘conservative politics’ and freemasonry. He also had a liking for violent video games and American TV drama series Dexter, about a forensic blood spatter pattern expert with the Miami police who hunts down and kills criminals in his spare time.

Breivik set up a Twitter account last week in which he hijacked a quotation by the 19th Century British libertarian and philosopher John Stuart Mill.

Mill said: ‘One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests.’ Breivik changed this to: ‘One person with a belief is equal to a force of 100,000 who have only interests.’

In another message, he expressed concern about the effects of immigration on Norwegian society. ‘There are political forces in Oslo who want mass-subsidised and low-cost “Islam-blocks” in Oslo West for “better integration”,’ he wrote.

And on his contacts with the English Defence League, he wrote: ‘I have on some occasions discussed with . . . the EDL and recommended them to use conscious strategies. The tactics of the EDL is to “entice” an overreaction from Jihad Youth/Extreme Marxists – something they have succeeded several times [with] already.’

In another posting, dated December 2009, Breivik claimed there was no country where Muslims lived peacefully alongside non-Muslims.

According to friends, Breivik began to espouse extremist views in his late 20s. But he was also a member of the second largest party in the Norwegian parliament from 1999 to 2004. Other members of the centre-right Progress Party described him as ‘a modest person who seldom engaged in political discussions’.

But Breivik appears to have become disillusioned with mainstream politics. He wrote in one internet message that ‘the vast majority of new faces in the Progress Party are now politically-correct career politicians and not in any way idealists who are willing to take risks and work for idealistic goals’. 

Last night, however, the authorities were still trying to establish a motive for the killings. 

As Breivik was charged with multiple counts of murder, police said his internet postings suggested he had ‘some political traits directed towards the right and anti-Muslim views’. 

‘But whether that was a motivation for the actual act remains to be seen,’ they added.

The savage, blood-soaked massacre in Norway might seem like the act of a deranged madman. But the perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, was nothing of the sort. 

In fact, he appears to have been an intelligent, well-educated individual and a competent businessman, who owned a successful farm. Nothing in either his life story or even in this unprecedented atrocity smacks of wild insanity. 

Just the opposite. He planned the whole operation with utter ruthlessness and precision, from using fertiliser from his farm to make the bomb that was planted at the government’s offices in Oslo, to disguising himself as a policeman to gain access to the island summer camp. 

Fatal: Seven people were killed in the Oslo bomb blast (pictured)
Even as he carried out the mass shooting, he did not exhibit the behaviour of a frenzied lunatic. Instead, he coldly beckoned his victims towards him and then, like an iron-willed executioner, systematically fired at them.

Tellingly, unlike so many spree killers, including Britain’s own Derrick Bird in Cumbria and Thomas Hamilton in Dunblane, he did not shoot himself, but instead allowed the police to take him into custody.

The fact that Breivik was able to perpetrate this monstrous deed is partly a reflection of the extremely liberal gun laws that operate in Scandinavia. Much of this huge region is a wilderness, dominated by the untamed forces of nature, and, as a result, the ownership of firearms for hunting and self-protection is widely accepted, just as in the US the freedom to carry guns is an integral part of society. 

It was this freedom that gave Breivik his easy access to high-calibre weaponry Moreover, his work as a farmer meant that he could acquire fertiliser for his bomb-making without raising any suspicions. 

But ease of access does not explain why he acted as he did. After all, despite the prevalence of guns, there has never previously been a crime like this in Norway and even in wider Scandinavia such mass shootings are extremely rare. The only comparable recent events were massacres in Finland at Tuusula in 2007 and Kauhajoki in 2008. 

Scandinavia has extremely low overall rates of crime and murder compared with most advanced countries in the Western world. Yet it is a fundamental paradox of Scandinavia that, for all the region’s stability and order, there are deep-seated anxieties about crime and social disintegration. Beneath the tranquil surface lurks a dark spirit of foreboding. 

That is why there is such an appetite in Scandinavia for the violent crime-fiction genre that conveys this atmosphere of menace, as demonstrated by the smash-hit Danish TV series The Killing or the novels of Stieg Larsson, such as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Norway has its own acclaimed writer of bestselling thrillers, Jo Nesbo. 

His fictional blond, blue-eyed detective Harry Hole specialises in catching spree killers.

This widespread disquiet has been driven partly by concerns that Norway’s national identity and traditional culture are under threat from mass immigration, multiculturalism and militant Islam. Many fear that the social contract of mutual responsibility which once built Scandinavia’s famously generous welfare system is now dissolving in the more fluid, globalised world.

When news began to unfold on Friday of the terror attacks in Norway that has left more than 90 dead, many blogs and Twitter accounts immediately lit up with speculation about who was behind the massive bombings in Oslo and the subsequent attack on a youth camp 20 miles away.

But some pundits, mostly right-wing neoconservatives, proclaimed that this bore all the hallmarks of Islamic terrorism, even going so far as to draw policy prescriptions. At the Washington Post, normally a well-respected news outlet,Jennifer Rubin quoted the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies‘ Thomas Joscelyn and AEI scholar Gary Schmitt to say that the attacks were the result of Islamic terrorism. She then concluded the “jihadist” attack on Oslo means the U.S. shouldn’t cut military spending:

This is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists. [...]

Some irresponsible lawmakers on both sides of the aisle…would have us believe that enormous defense cuts would not affect our national security. Obama would have us believe that al-Qaeda is almost caput and that we can wrap up things in Afghanistan. All of these are rationalizations for doing something very rash, namely curbing our ability to defend the United States and our allies in a very dangerous world.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, rushed up an editorial Friday, blaming “jidhadists” for the attacks and exclaiming, “Norway is targeted for being true to Western norms”:

in jihadist eyes, [Norway] will always remain guilty of being what it is: a liberal nation committed to freedom of speech and conscience, equality between the sexes, representative democracy, and every other freedom that defines the West. For being true to those ideals, Norwegians have now been asked to pay a terrible price.

As more information came out about the attacks and the attacker, the WSJ rewrote the online version of the editorial, albeit by removing any trace of the above paragraph. Instead, it mentioned that it had falsely attributed the attacks to jihadists and called the attacker an al Qaeda “copycat.”

Many other conservatives committed similar follies. AEI’s Ahmad Majidyar published a post about the links between Norway and al Qaeda.

FDD president Cliff May openly speculated at Pajamas Media that the attack was probably a “retaliatory” strike for the recent indictment of a radical Islamic militant in Norway. Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin made multiple references to jihadist attackers on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Josh Trevino, a GOP activist and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, sarcastically quipped that he “suspected Lutherans” for the attack while also saying it was part of a “jihad.” Conservative activist Andrew Breitbart and RedState’s Erick Erickson were quick to join in as well.

Even after the identity of the suspected attacker was known, Erickson went up with a bizarre new post claiming some sort of difference between Christian and Muslim terrorists.

Now, though, we know that these speculative hypotheses, presented with near certitude and no evidence, couldn’t have been further from the truth: The man now charged by police for both attacks is a right-wing 32-year-old Norwegian “fundamentalist Christian (per Norwegian police) with — far from ties to Muslim extremist motivations — a particular animus toward Islam, which he’s labeled a “hate ideolog(y).”

Rubin, who has a penchant for credulously repeating unverified and incorrect claims that fit with her worldview, drew the ire of James Fallows and Steve Clemons at the Atlantic website, where they said the Post should correct her “fear-mongering” piece and issue an apology.

“The role of religion as motive is obviously going to play a role, however. Yesterday I hypothesized that this might have been an act of jihad — inspired by Islam. I wasn’t alone in my speculation, as the pattern of the attack fit previous jihadist operations: near-simultaneous attacks aimed at mass casualties (Bali, London, Madrid), the focus on children (Beslan), and a history of Islamic terror threatsagainst Norway, including threats to kill government officials. Violent jihad is central to Islam. And lest anyone say that, even if this were an act of jihad, Islam wouldn’t permit the killing of innocent children, let me point out that Muhammad himself defined “innocent child” differently than we.

Now it appears that a narrative is building that this sociopath acted out of “Christian fundamentalism,” whatever that is.

If that takes hold, and I say this as a thoroughly secular person, it would be grossly unfair and a slander against religious Christians because, unlike Islam, their faith forbids just this kind of action and makes it a mortal sin. The Fifth Commandment is, “You shall not murder.”

In other words, for Breivik to do what he did here or, more locally, for a Christian to gun down an abortionist, he necessarily acts against his religion. Not so with the jihadist, and I can see another false equivalence being created that needs to be pushed back against for the sake of moral and intellectual clarity and truth.

And the core truth at this time is that Breivik, regardless of whatever reason he did this, is an immensely evil human being, and that our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the Norwegian nation in this awful time.

A Right-Wing Terrorist, Of Course"), I've wondered occasionally what happens when right-wingers, who have now given their brains over entirely to whacked-out delusion, are forced into contact with actual reality -- or, alternatively, ...DownWithTyranny!

"Anders Behring Breivik from the video he posted on YouTube before his shooting spree": caption for the photo accompanying theTelegraph's Sunday-datelined report, "Norway killings: Breivik posted hate-filled video on YouTube hours before attacks"

Entitled “Knights Templar 2083 - Movie Trailer”, the video includes photos of Breivik, one posing in a wetsuit with a military-style firearm, as well as imagary of medieval Crusaders.

In accompanying text, the killer sets out a personal manifesto for a “conservative revolution” to rid Europe of Islam and Marxism.

He says: “The first drop of rain marks the coming of a great and unstoppable cultural conservative tidal wave. The tidal wave will cleanse Western Europe of cultural Marxism and will result in the banishment of Islam for the third time.

Anders Behring Breivik, 32, reportedly has admitted to the bombing and shootings that left at least 92 people dead on Friday in Norway. Police also are investigating whether a second gunman might be involved. As Norwegians begin to deal with their grief, they and rest of the world also are trying to figure out what set off the rampage.

Breivik says he will explain his motives on Monday when he is arraigned. For now, investigators can only speculate, but the suspect's writings and videos on YouTube paint a picture of an extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalist with strong anti-Muslim views, skepticism about multiculturalism and animosity toward socialism (Los Angeles Times)

It's hard to reconcile the softly smiling young man in professional studio shots with the monster who witnesses say donned a police uniform and ruthlessly hunted down scores of young Norwegians, firing at those who jumped into freezing water in a desperate bid to escape. "I'll kill every one of you," he shouted at victims, witnesses recalled. Now it is up to investigators to fit the two seemingly incongruous images together in an effort to comprehend what motivated the man believed to be behind the attacks.

 Breivik reportedly wrote a 1,500-page manifesto that he posted just hours before his alleged rampage. He kept a day-by-day of months of planning for the attacks, and claimed to be part of a group that planned to seized control of Western Europe and implement a cultural conservative political agenda (New York Times):

He predicted a conflagration that would kill or injure more than a million people, adding, "The time for dialogue is over. We gave peace a chance. The time for armed resistance has come." . . . The manifesto, entitled "2083: A European Declaration of Independence," equates liberalism and multiculturalism with "cultural Marxism," which the document says is destroying European Christian civilization.

The document also describes a secret meeting in London in April 2002 to reconstitute the Knights Templar, a Crusader military order.

 It says the meeting was attended by nine representatives of eight European countries, evidently including Mr. Breivik, with an additional three members unable to attend, including a "European-American."

Investigators in Oslo have not said if Breivik's political and religious views are a factor.  But suspected gunman's radical beliefs have turned the focus on increasing right-wing extremism in Europe (BBC):

But the suspect, it seems, is no pure nationalist. Instead, he is said to be a right-wing extremist of the kind that police authorities in the West have feared for some time.

Their fear has been heightened by the potentially explosive mix of economic recession and unemployment, increasing racism and an ever stronger anti-Muslim sentiment, according to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.

Norway's security police reported a mild increase in right-wing extremist activity last year and predicted that such activity would continue to increase throughout this year. But it also suggested that the movement was weak, lacked a central leader and offered relatively modest growth potential.

Meanwhile, details continue to emerge of the shootings that occurred on Utoya Island, with survivors offering harrowing stories (Guardian, London): 

"It was about 5 p.m. We had heard about the bomb in Oslo and had been gathering to discuss it, because of course some people had families in Oslo and were worried," said Adrian Pracon, one of the camp organisers. "This man came along and said he was from the police and told us he would help us and make sure that everyone was OK but that man, dressed as a policeman, was the shooter.

He had a machine gun, but it wasn't set to automatic fire, it was on single shot. He wasn't shooting like crazy or to make panic, he was shooting to kill people, with single bullets."

Pracon said Breivik appeared cool and calm but looked like someone from a "Nazi movie". "He saw someone run into their tent and he just slowly went to the tent, opening it and shot the people in the tent. He had been very prepared for this.

He said he would kill us all and everyone shall die." Many people ran into the water, where they were picked off one by one or were pulled under the water by the weight of their clothes and boots, Pracon said. "I tried to call the police [on my mobile], but so did 200 others, so the system went down. I lay down and acted as if I were dead. He approached, two metres away. He was kicking people to see if they were alive or dead.

I could hear him breathe, I could feel the warmth from the machine gun. I heard a big boom and I couldn't hear anything in my left ear. I didn't think I was hit but it turned out I was shot quite badly. There were about 20 people dead just around me." Pracon was shot in the shoulder, but is expected to recover.

Maybe all countries should have a geopolitical rumspringa for youth, rumspringa being the period in Amish teen years when they are allowed to experiment with the outside world and then decide whether or not to adopt the Amish way, the freedom from law and morality the north countries had when Vikings were running around everywhere.   Could it work?  "Okay kids, rape, pillage and war with each other but do it on Antarctica. After two years, you can either stay there or come home and knock that shit off, including if you become president".

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