Bombing in Oslo: Confirmation of Ken's "The Many Faces of Terrorism"
Confirming (sadly) Ken's The Many Faces of Terrorism
Here is the article on the attacks in Oslo:
Death Toll Rises to 92 in Norway Attacks By DAVID JOLLY Source: The New York Times, July 23, 2011 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/world/europe/24oslo.html?_r=2&partner=MYWAY&ei=5065
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 shooting attack on a nearby island that killed at least 92 people. Officials said the death toll could climb as they continued to search for the missing.
As stunned Norwegians grappled with the deadliest attack in the country since World War II, a portrait began to emerge of the main suspect in the case as a gun-loving Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threat of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration.
The police have not identified the suspect, but Norwegian media have identified him as Anders Behring Breivik, 32.
In a Facebook page and a Twitter account set up under that name days before the rampage, suggesting a conscious effort to construct a public persona, he cited philosophers from Kant to Machiavelli. Though there did not appear to be calls for violence in his Internet postings, he hinted at his will to act in his lone Twitter post, paraphrasing John Stuart Mill: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”
While the motives for the rampage remained obscure, fresh details provided by witnesses on Saturday provided a clearer picture of the terror on the island of Utoya, a wooded retreat accessible only by boat about 19 miles northwest of Oslo where, the police said, at least 85 people, some as young as 16, were killed in the attack on a summer camp there.
Most of the 600 campers, many from political families, had gathered in the main assembly building for a briefing on the bombing in Oslo. Relatives of many of the youths worked in the vicinity of the blast.
As soon as the shooting started, people panicked, witnesses said, running in all directions, tumbling down the island’s rocky hill in an attempt to reach the sea. Even after many made it into the water, the gunman calmly and methodically shot at those who were swimming.
“People right behind me were shot,” said Helen Andreassen, 21, a political adviser for the Labor Party’s youth wing. “I heard shots right behind me. He was standing just by the water, using his rifle, just taking his time, aiming and shooting. It was a slaughter of young children.”
Witnesses said the attacker wore a police uniform, which allowed him to deceive his victims as they desperately sought help. At one point, the gunman emerged from the forest and persuaded several youths who had sought refuge on the shore to come to him, said Stine Renate Haaheim, 27, a member of Parliament with the Labor Party, who was also among those hiding.
Then he opened fire.
“He shot a boy in the back,” Mr. Haaheim said. “I saw that some people were falling, and we turned around and ran. At that point I didn’t look back.”
The camp has been an important rite of passage for the country’s young budding liberals for decades. The current prime minister attended the camp in the 1970s. “It was for me the safest place in the world,” said Khamshajiny Gunaratnam, 23, a member of the youth group’s board. “I still haven’t cried. I’m still in shock.”
There were also unconfirmed reports on Saturday of a second gunman on the island.
The newspaper VG cited one survivor of the massacre as saying that he saw a second man, about 5-foot-11 with thick dark hair, holding a pistol and carrying a rifle slung across his back. Mr. Breivik, according to photos on what are believed to be his Facebook and Twitter pages, is a blue-eyed blond.
The second man was dressed in civilian clothes, the newspaper report said. Witnesses said the man identified as Mr. Breivik wore a police sweater and had initially identified himself as a police officer.
But several witnesses said they knew nothing of a second gunman, and the police declined to comment on the report.
“We are not sure whether he was alone or had help,” a police official, Roger Andresen, said at a televised news conference, adding: “What we know is that he is right-wing and a Christian fundamentalist.” Mr. Breivik has not been linked to any anti-jihadist groups, he said.
The suspect was being questioned under the country’s terrorism laws, the police said, and was cooperating with the investigation.
“As for right now, one man has been apprehended for this, that’s all I can say,” Mr. Andresen said.
The death toll rose on Saturday, including seven known to have died in the bombing of the government center in Oslo. The police said Saturday that they were still searching for bodies in the waters around the island.
King Harald V and Queen Sonja met with survivors of the camp shooting and their family members at a hotel outside of Oslo on Saturday.
The prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, who also met with survivors on Saturday, would not speculate on a motive for the attacks.
“Compared to other countries I wouldn’t say we have a big problem with right-wing extremists in Norway,” Mr. Stoltenberg told reporters at a news conference. “But we have had some groups, we have followed them before, and our police is aware that there are some right-wing groups.”
Central Oslo was busy on Saturday as Norwegians sought to understand the terrible events of the day before. People crowded into outdoor cafes, despite the rainy weather, and streets were clogged with pedestrians.
Soldiers cordoned off the square where the bombing occurred with red and white tape, and the presence of heavily armed soldiers in camouflage gear was a jarring sight in a Northern European city known for its easygoing ways.
But there were few signs of a lockdown. Pedestrians walked the streets with sense of purpose that bordered on urgency, though taking the time to snap photographs of soldiers.
The police said the suspect had used “a machine pistol” in the attack but declined to provide additional details. Fully automatic weapons are prohibited in Norway.
Mr. Breivik had registered a farm-related business 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. The authorities were investigating whether the chemical might have been used in the bombing.
The police said they recovered explosives on the island but provided no details.
Arild Groven, secretary general of the Norwegian Shooting Association, a sports shooting group, confirmed that Mr. Breivik had belonged to Oslo Pistolklubb, one of the 520 clubs in the association, which has 30,000 members.
“We all read and watch the news about the shootings in the United States,” Mr. Groven said. “But it doesn’t happen here.”
He said the process of obtaining a handgun license for sports shooting was strict, requiring a safety certification and a police background check.
Mr. Breivik had been known as polite and conscientious man by former colleagues. But his writings on a right-wing Web site, Document.no, revealed another side, an abiding obsession with Marxists, Muslims and Norway’s multicultural ideals.
Though he does not call for violence in the postings, he denounces the demographic change that he says has undermined Christian communities in places like Kosovo and Lebanon. Mr. Breivik writes: “Can you name ONE country where multiculturalism is successful where Islam is involved? The only historical example is the society without a welfare state with only non-Muslim minorities (U.S.).”
Joran Kallmyr, Oslo’s vice mayor for transport and a member of the Progress Party, said he met Mr. Breivik several times in 2002 and 2003 at local party meetings.
“He was very quiet, almost a little bit shy,” Mr. 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.”
In reading some of Mr. Breivik’s online writings, Mr. Kallmyr said, he now had the feeling that Mr. Breivik left the party because he found it too soft.
“He was there for a short time, but he didn’t like our politics, I guess, and moved on,” Mr. Kallmyr said.
As was the case in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, many in the public and the media initially jumped to the conclusion that terrorists from the Middle East were behind the carnage.
“I thought it was a probably an international terrorist attack,” said Kristian Ulrichsen, a researcher at the London School of Economics whose main topic is the politics and security of the Persian Gulf. “But when I heard about the attack on Utoya, I knew it must be domestic, it was a Norwegian political target.”
He said he was “quite relieved” to learn that it had apparently been a homegrown attack, because an international terrorist attack would have further agitated Norwegian society.
“It may make a lot of people reflect on the challenges of integration and ensuring tolerance and antiracism, so that these views can be openly rejected by everyone in Norway,” Mr. Ulrichsen said.
If he is convicted for the crimes under Norwegian law, Mr. Breivik would face a maximum sentence of 21 years, according to the police, meaning that unless he were found unfit for release for some reason he would be freed well before he turned 60. Norway abolished capital punishment in 1905.
David Jolly reported from Paris. Elisa Mala and Michael Schwirtz contributed reporting from Oslo, and Christina Anderson from Stockholm.