by Edward Teller
July 24, 2011
What Pushed Anders Behring Breivik Over the Edge?
"Jens Stoltenberg på Utøya" (Picture of the Youth at Utøya -2010)
by Arneiderpartiet (Labor Party) on flickr
Watching the international media on the web and TV change gears Friday, as
information started to fasten to the fact that the worst terrorist act in
Scandinavia since the 3rd Reich was perpetrated by a right-wing
zealot, was fascinating.
This, rather than what Pam Geller, Steve Emerson,
Daniel Pipes, Dennis Prager, David Horowitz, CNN, Fox News and many others
were touting for hours as most likely an act of Muslim Jihad in a country
that is way, way too liberal.
I was keyed into paying attention to how this meme might have to morph
fairly early in the afternoon, by an item carried by Michael Rivero at
Really Happened, about the major event at the youth camp the day before the
During the second day of Labour Youth League summer camp at Utøya got the
Labour Party’s young hopefuls visit by Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store.
Together with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent Sidsel
Wold and Norwegian People’s Aid Kirsten Belck-Olsen, discussed the Foreign
Minister of the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
As foreign minister arrived Utøya he was met with a demand from the AUF that
Norway must recognize a Palestinian state.
- The Palestinians must have their own state, the occupation must end, the
wall must be demolished and it must happen now, said the Foreign Minister to
cheers from the audience. [automatically translated from Norwegian by Google
That was an event held Thursday at the summer camp for the children of
As the story developed Friday, almost every news outlet was quick to provide
experts on Muslim terrorism and how that might have a growing negative
impact on Norway and Europe. On Anderson Cooper, Friday afternoon, as he had
his experts on Jihadism on camera, he was being told by another person - a
CNN reporter - that the shooter, possibly the bomber, was a blond Norwegian.
Cooper seemed to be taken aback, turning back to his Jihad experts, who were
dismissive of the new information.
The bombing-shootings took up enormous bandwidth in our media machine until
it came out that the alleged perpetrator has more in common with Sarah Palin
and Alan Dershowitz than with Rachel Corrie or Furkan Doğan, both of whom
have been labeled terrorists by Dershowitz.
As the end-of-the-week-in-midsummer stupor overtakes the media on a hot
Friday evening in the USA, will they get around to trying to find out what
set Anders Behring off?
The bombing had to be pre-planned, probably for some time. Was the
pro-Palestinian event Thursday at the camp where over 70 were killed
published on the Web, Facebook, Twitter or somewhere else? Most likely. That
may be what pushed this guy’s last button.
And just who created the group that fictitiously took credit for the
massacres early Friday?
The ‘Helpers of Global Jihad’ group, of which al-Nasser is a member, made
the claims in an email circular issued to various sources. The group does
not appear to have any past history.
It is thought that the bombings are a belated response to Norwegian
newspapers and magazines republishing cartoons of Mohammed originally
published by Jyllands-Posten of Denmark.
I’m not about to go all conspiracy theory on this story.
I am bothered,
though, that the media was extremely rapid to ramp up the radical Islam run
amok meme, yet so unready to deal with what is increasingly appearing to be
possible - that the Christian gunman was impelled to kill liberals he may
have felt were too sympathetic to Palestinians.
Update - Saturday, 12:30 p.m. PDT
This diary questions what pushed Breivik over the edge.
diary this morning, He’s Not a Terrorist - He’s a Freedom Fighter! touches
upon some of the more pathetic errors in the media on Friday, as accurate
information on the shooter-bomber became available.
David Dayen’s front page
fdl diary, takes this subject further - Norway Terror Reveals Disturbing
Assumptions About Muslims.
Glenn Greenwald devoted his Saturday column to yesterday’s pathetic media
coverage. His second update links to an Electronic Intifada article that
shows how the false meme developed soon after the bomb went off in downtown
Essentially, it appears one dubious “expert” pushed the global media
“over the edge”:
The source is Will McCants, adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University.
his website he describes himself as formerly “Senior Adviser for Countering
Violent Extremism at the U.S. Department of State, program manager of the
Minerva Initiative at the Department of Defense, and fellow at West Point’s
Combating Terrorism Center.”
This morning, he posted “Alleged Claim for Oslo
Attacks” on his blog Jihadica.
This was posted by Abu Sulayman al-Nasir to the Arabic jihadi forum, Shmukh,
around 10:30am EST (thread 118187). Shmukh is the main forum for
Arabic-speaking jihadis who support al-Qaeda. Since the thread is now
inaccessible (either locked or taken down), I am posting it here. I don’t
have time at the moment to translate the whole thing but I translated the
most important bits on twitter.
The Shmukh web site is not accessible to just anyone, so he is the primary
source for this claim. McCants stated from the beginning that the claim had
been removed or hidden, and on Twitter he even cast doubt on whether it was
a claim of responsibility at all.
snip - EI posted screenshots of several tweets by McCants, then this:
McCants later reported that the claim of responsibility was retracted by the
author “Abu Sulayman al-Nasir.”
Furthermore, according to McCants, the
moderator of this forum declared that speculation about the attack would be
prohibited because the contents of the forum were appearing in mainstream
It does seem more than a little bit odd that genuine “jihadis” would
post on a closed forum that a former US official and “counterterrorism
expert” openly writes about infiltrating.
EI is highly critical about how easily McCants’ dubious information was
The media also failed. They reported on the claims McCants disseminated
because his position and perceived expertise gave these claims credibility.
Would The New York Times have required multiple sources and independent
confirmation of the existence of the posting and its contents if it had not
come from someone with McCants’ supposedly solid credentials?
For hours after McCants posted the update that the claim of responsibility
was retracted, BBC, the New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post
were still promoting information originally sourced from him. The news was
carried around the world and became the main story line in much of the
The threshold for a terrorism expert must be very low. This whole rush to
disseminate a false, unverifiable and flimsily sourced claim strikes me as a
case of an elite fanboy wanting to be the first to pass on leaked gadget
Update - 4:30 pm PDT
Here is what is being purported as his farewell video,
posted before the downtown bomb went off:
Obama Reaction To Norway Massacre
...Betrays US "War on Terror" Fundamentalism
by Finian Cunningham
July 23, 2011
Within hours of Norway’s deadly bomb and gun attacks claiming at least 91
victims it has become clear that the horror was perpetrated by a Norwegian
rightwing Christian fundamentalist affiliations.
Barack Obama reacted immediately to the
news of the atrocity to insinuate an Islamic connection and to justify
America’s war on terror.
Obama spoke on Friday while hosting New Zealand Prime Minister John Key
in the White House.
The US President said of the attacks:
“It's a reminder that the entire
international community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror
from occurring, and that we have to work co-operatively together both on
intelligence and in terms of prevention of these kinds of horrible
Prime Minister Key added:
“If it is an act of
global terrorism I think it shows that no country, large or small, is immune
from that risk, and that is why New Zealand plays its part in Afghanistan as
we try and join others like the United States in making the world a safer
place,” he said.
On Friday evening local time, 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik was
captured by police moments after he went on a two-hour shooting rampage at a
youth summer camp, killing at least 84 people, most of whom were aged
between 14 and 18.
Hundreds of teenagers had gathered on the island of Otoeya, about 20 miles
northwest of the capital, Oslo, for an annual summer camp organized by the
Scandinavian country’s ruling Labour party.
Six-foot blond-haired Breivik was heavily armed and dressed as a policeman
when he arrived on the island and beckoned the youths to assemble near him.
About two hours earlier, a massive car bomb had exploded in the downtown
area of Oslo ripping through government buildings and killing at least
The youths on the island of Otoeya thought that
Breivik was carrying out a security check in connection with the bombing in
He proceeded to open fire on the campers and ran
amok for nearly two hours before being arrested.
There were scenes of
pandemonium as the gunman chased after victims through wooded areas on the
tiny resort island. Some youths dived into the water in a bid to swim back
to the mainland, with Breivik shooting at those trying to escape.
The gunman is believed to have also carried out the bombing.
Days before the
massacre, Breivik reportedly posted a message on the internet saying:
“One person with belief can achieve more
than one hundred thousand without belief.”
The Norwegian is also reportedly associated with
extremist rightwing groups in Northern Europe.
A Christian fundamentalist, Breivik is believed to have shared rabid “Islamophobic views”.
He is said to have been living with his mother in a wealthy district of Oslo
and to have run a farming business. This is how he obtained the fertilizer
materials believed to have been used in making the car bomb.
The profile of Breivik that emerged minutes after the incidents was clearly
that of a Norwegian citizen who acted on a deranged loner mission.
However, this did not restrain Obama or his New Zealand guest from issuing
wild insinuations about Islamic terrorism. Obama is reported to have been
briefed by intelligence officials before he spoke on the matter. Which makes
his response an all the more odious bit of politicking to turn a horrific,
tragic event into a propaganda stunt to stir up anti-Islamic fears and shore
up Washington’s illegal “wars on terror”.
What should be disturbing is the level of inculcation of such irrational
It seems that every and any horror no matter how
obviously unrelated to Islamic countries can now immediately be attributed
by Obama and other Western leaders to “Islamic terrorists”.
It is an astounding act of reality inversion.
The US leader who has taken international wars
of aggression to record heights of lawlessness and who has made such a big
deal of “embracing the Muslim world” nevertheless shows a disgraceful
ability to prolong these wars by twisting any tragedy into a snide
vilification of Islam.
The Politics Behind the Norway Slaughter
by William Boston
July 24, 2011
A picture of
Anders Behring Breivik taken from a book
downloaded from a link
Shortly before his deadly rampage on July 22,
Anders Behring Breivik did something millions of people do today - he
checked in one last time with his friends on Facebook.
The farewell message he posted was just as much
a part of his murderous plan as the carnage he was about to unleash in Oslo
and at a tranquil island retreat, which left at least 93 people dead in the
bloodiest act of terrorism in Norway since World War II.
Breivik's final Facebook entry was
a massive 1,516-page document and a link to
a video on YouTube (far above video).
He created the manifesto and the video long
before the attacks in order to control what would be said about him in the
media after he committed his slaughter and was free to post no more. He also
encouraged his more than 7,000 Facebook friends to use his manifesto as a
blueprint for action.
2083 - A European Declaration of Independence,
is something of a template for right-wing terrorism, a rambling manifesto
that at times rails at "cultural Marxists" and "multiculturalism" and blames
them for the destruction of Western culture.
Elsewhere he offers detailed instructions on
Web-based self-publishing, comments on his TV habits and provides tips for
building a successful terrorist cell.
With the exception of some highly personal
descriptions of growing up and his pain over the divorce of his parents, the
document is eerily reminiscent of the jihadist instruction manuals that have
been widely distributed over the Internet since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"It is a complete mirroring of al-Qaeda, a
cut-and-paste image of a jihadist manifesto," Magnus Ranstorp, a
terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College, tells
As Norway begins the process of mourning the
victims of Friday's attacks and police continue to question Breivik, a
picture of the dark, subterranean world of European nationalists that
spawned him is emerging.
But even as investigators learn more about the
milieu out of which Breivik rose, it is unclear whether he represents a
first fighter in a
Christian jihad or is merely a deranged loner who created
a real-world version of his favorite video game, World of Warcraft.
In many places, Breivik's writings are less a true manifesto than a
straight-up diary in which he documents the months of planning that preceded
He describes being part of a secret society that
is getting ready to take control of Europe and expel all Muslims.
"The time for dialogue is over. We gave
peace a chance. The time for armed resistance has come," he wrote.
Apparently skilled at public relations, Breivik
even interviewed himself. In a series of questions and answers, he reveals
that the trigger for his actions was Norway's involvement in the NATO
bombings of Serbia during the Kosovo war in 1999.
He also despised Norway's "cowardly handling of
the Muhammad cartoons."
In another question, Breivik asks how he would describe his ideology; he
says he is part of an indigenous-rights movement whose ideology is cultural
"I am very proud of my Viking heritage. My
name, Breivik, is a place name from Northern Norway, dating back to
before the Viking era," he wrote.
The secret society Breivik describes aims to
the Knights Templar.
Known by their trademark white mantles bearing a
red cross, the Knights Templar were skilled fighters during the Crusades who
wielded enormous political and economic influence during the Middle Ages.
Breivik wrote that there was a secret meeting in London in April 2002 to
rebuild the order and that nine people representing eight European countries
Maybe all that happened - or maybe it didn't.
"It could all be in his head," Thomas
Hegghammer, a terrorism expert at the Norwegian Defense Research
Establishment, tells TIME.com.
"The document mirrors al-Qaeda ideology
in a few important ways. The principal aim is to expel Muslims from
Europe, just as al-Qaeda wants to expel Westerners from the holy lands."
But in one very important respect, Breivik is
proving to be a different sort of terrorist suspect than the Islamists he
both loathes and emulates: he clearly had no intention of becoming a martyr.
Instead of fighting to the death with police on
Friday, he surrendered immediately and has since been more than willing to
talk about his motives.
"He has admitted to the facts of both the
bombing and the shooting, although he's not admitting criminal guilt,"
said Sveinung Sponheim, Oslo's acting police chief, at a news
conference, Reuters reported.
According to his lawyer Geir Lippestad, Breivik,
"believed the actions were atrocious but
that in his head they were necessary."
It will take some time before police can
determine if Breivik represents the avant-garde of a new right wing in
Europe or if his actions are just political theater - deadly, tragic, well
rehearsed, yes, but just the one-off act of an unhinged man. Maybe Breivik
is simply trying to secure a place in history.
In his interview with himself, he urged his
"build your network on Facebook. Follow the
guidelines in this book and you will succeed!"
Then, dressed to kill and perhaps savoring a
last quiet moment, he closed the manifesto with a final, chilling thought:
"I believe this will be my last entry. It is
now Fri July 22nd, 12.51."