June 29, 2013

Norway Attacks Admitted by Anders Behring Breivik

America Stands With You NorwayAmerica Stands With You, Norway

Describing his heinous acts as “gruesome but necessary”, Anders Behring Breivik has admitted to carrying out two attacks in Norway which have shocked the world. Charged with bombing a building in Oslo’s Government quarter, and killing 85 people at a youth camp on the nearby island of Utoeya, Breivik says he acted alone.

The attacks have claimed the lives of at least 93 people, with an additional 96 injured and some still unaccounted for. At least four people from the youth camp are missing; they are feared drowned after swimming into the lake to escape the shooting. In Oslo it is feared that more victims may be found in buildings that are currently too unstable to search.

oslo norway bombing photo by alejandro decap

Photo by Alejandro Decap

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At a memorial service on Sunday, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said: “Every one of those gone is a tragedy. Together it counts as a national disaster. In the middle of the tragedy, I am proud to live in a country which has managed to stand tall in a critical time. Our response is more democracy, more openness and more humanity, but never naivete.”

Breivik was arrested approximately 90 minutes after the massacre started, surrendering when he ran out of ammunition. Questions have arisen as to why the operation to capture him took so long, with local police opting to wait for a special unit from Oslo to arrive, as their boat was too small to carry equipment and personnel.

Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim said Breivik “admitted to the facts of both the bombing and the shooting, although he’s not admitting criminal guilt. He says that he was alone but the police must verify everything that he said. Some of the witness statements from the island have made us unsure of whether there was one or more shooters.”

An armed raid was carried out in Eastern Oslo, and though several people were detained, they have now been released. Police have said that there is no evidence to connect them to the attacks, and while they are currently not looking for anyone else, they have not ruled out that Breivik could have had help.

Anders Behring Breivik has been charged over both attacks with his first court date set for Monday. Under Norwegian law the maximum time he could face in prison is 21 years.

32 year old Breivik grew up in Oslo and attended the Oslo School of Management. On his Facebook page, he describes himself as a Christian and Conservative.

Hours before the attacks, a 1,500 page ‘manifesto’ entitled ’2080: A European Declaration of Independence’ was published online. This has been attributed to Breivik, posted under the pseudonym of Andrew Berwick.

The manifesto opens with an entry in 2002, in which Breivik claims that he has been “ordinated as the 8th Justiciar Knight for the PCCTS, Knights Templar Europe”, a resistance movement to combat the “Islamisation” of Europe.

The Knights Templar were a medieval Christian organization during the Crusades, and are revered by white supremacists.

The manifesto details several ‘preparation phases’ in the run-up to the attacks. He describes cover up stories for his actions, increasing his fitness level, and acquiring weapons and explosive materials. Breivik writes about creating two businesses: a mining company and a small farm operation.

“The reasoning for this decision is to create a credible cover in case I am arrested in regards to the purchase and smuggling of explosives or components to explosives – fertilizer. In this case I created a new company called Geofarm, which might act as a credible cover for such activities.”

By 2010, he writes about acquiring weapons such as a semi-automatic rifle and Glock pistol legally, as he doesn’t have a criminal record that would prevent him from purchasing a gun. On the application form he states ‘hunting deer’, but comments that “It would have been tempting just to write the truth: ‘executing category A and B cultural Marxists/multiculturalist traitors’ just to see their reaction.”

In the run-up to the attacks, the day to day entries describe his “personal reflections and experiences during several preparation phases”, until the final entry which simply reads:

“I believe this will be my last entry. It is now Fri July 22nd, 12.51.

Sincere regards, Andrew Berwick. Justiciar Knight Commander. Knights Templar Europe. Knights Templar Norway.”

A anti-Muslim video entitled ‘Knights Templar 2083′ appeared briefly on YouTube, showing still pictures of Breivik wearing a wetsuit and holding an automatic weapon.

While police have not speculated on what may have led Breivik to choose his specific targets, the Oslo building is connected to the governing Labour Party, which also runs the youth camp on Utoeya Island. The victims on the island were teenage members of the social democratic Labor Party.

His lawyer, Geir Lippestad, said: “He’s stated that he went to Utoeya to give the Labour party a warning that ‘doomsday would be imminent’ unless the party changed its policies.”

While Norway has dealt with neo-Nazi groups in the past, it was assumed that they were mostly eliminated and didn’t pose a great threat.

The Norwegian attacks have people thinking back, and making comparisons to the Oklahoma bombings in 1995. Just as in that case, the initial assumption that it was a Muslim attack proved to be mistaken. Once again, large quantities of fertilizer were bought with the intention of making bombs, mirroring Timothy McVeigh’s actions.

Brita Skogly Kraglund works for the Vaart Land newspaper, one of the businesses housed in the building. When the bomb blast blew out the windows, she and her colleagues ran out into the street, unhurt but badly shaken.

Her husband, Ivar Dyb Kraglund, a senior researcher at Norway’s Resistance Museum said: “I immediately thought of Oklahoma City.”

On viewing the damage, Sigrid Skeie Tjensvoll said: “If Islamic people do something bad, you think, ‘Oh, it’s Muslims’. But if a white Protestant does something bad, you just think he’s mad. That’s something we need to think about.”

Both McVeigh and Breivik are painted as “domestic terrorists.”

McVeigh didn’t stand out growing up. The son of a factory worker and homemaker, he represented an all-American youth, working at Burger King and as a Security Guard, before joining the military. He was a decorated Army veteran.

Anders Behring Breivik appears to be a typical Norwegian. Blond haired, blue eyed, and a ‘preppy’ dresser, he was a youth and adult member of the conservative FrP, or Progress Party.

Both men shared extreme political agendas.

McVeigh became increasingly disillusioned with the federal government and their treatment of the Iraqi people. This was compounded by the government’s actions at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and at Randy Weaver’s cabin in Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Breivik claims to have worked alone, but that has yet to be determined. While McVeigh initially claimed the same thing, an FBI investigation led to Terry Nichols being arrested, charged with helping to build McVeigh’s bomb, and Michael Fortier, accused of failing to alert authorities to the plan.

Needless to say, the jury that convicted Nichols could not agree on a sentence for the defendant, echoing the sentiments of other jurors when she said “I think the government dropped the ball.” Several jurors felt that a number of co-conspirators were not arrested, believing that the FBI had failed to follow up a number of leads. This led to them being unable to convict Nichols of murder.

Kari Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma National Memorial and Museum, said she has been contacted by survivors and victims’ relatives of the Oklahoma bombing, shaken by what has happened in Norway.

Noting that many are having ‘flashbacks’, she said “It’s a senseless and needless attack. And it’s almost exactly what our people went through. When it’s one of your own, when it’s one of our folks doing it to us, it’s hard to stomach.”

Watkins is not surprised that the Norwegian does not represent what people imagine when they think of a terrorist, saying that the one thing that the Oklahoma City bombing taught her is that “evil doesn’t have to look like a monster.”

Norway attacks: Shaken nation sees shades of Oklahoma City

Breivik ‘manifesto’ details chilling attack preparation

Tragedy of Oklahoma City echoes in Norwegian terror attacks