Turkish president warns European leaders over their role in extremism

Today’s Zaman reports:

Turkish President Abdullah Gül has called on European leaders to stick to values such as democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, which originated from the continent of Europe, as he warned that populist tendencies among European leaders towards migration triggered the radicalization of immigrant societies.

Delivering a speech at the third Global Policy Forum held in the central Russian city of Yaroslavl, Gül said the values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, although having originated in Europe, had a global impact.

“The Arab Spring that began with the demand of the people for democratic transformation is the latest manifestation of this impact. One expects a decline in discriminatory treatment as the world experiences these developments and the emergence of a common cultural understanding for mankind, but we unfortunately continue to witness the strengthening of extremist views that consider differences as a reason for conflict in various parts of the world,” Gül said at the forum, to which he had been invited as guest of honor. The forum was held under the auspices of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. This year’s forum, titled “The Modern State in the Age of Social Diversity,” focused on issues democracies face in the present-day social diversity such as the correlation of economic efficiency and social equality, the balance between innovation and tradition, maintaining global security and personal freedoms.

“The existence of these movements on the European continent, which presented the world with the notions of democracy and the modern state, is food for thought. Racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia that fester contemporaneously with the economic crisis affecting Europe give rise to serious concern. Parties that point at migrants as the source of problems such as security, crime, poverty and other social difficulties gain more votes.

“The reaction by governments and main political parties that introduce stricter measures on migration in order to counter this fear by the people is also worrying. Rising intolerance and discrimination becomes a trigger for radicalization,” Gül said.

The July 22 terrorist attacks in which a right-wing extremist killed 77 people and rocked the foundations of Norway’s democratic society, which places high value on openness and civil rights, was one example used by Gül to better explain his point.


Breivik embodies the intersection between rightist populism and liberal political correctness

The philosopher, Slavoj Žižek, writes:

In Anders Behring Breivik’s ideological self-justification as well as in reactions to his murderous act there are things that should make us think. The manifesto of this Christian “Marxist hunter” who killed more than 70 people in Norway is precisely not a case of a deranged man’s rambling; it is simply a consequent exposition of “Europe’s crisis” which serves as the (more or less) implicit foundation of the rising anti-immigrant populism – its very inconsistencies are symptomatic of the inner contradictions of this view.

The first thing that sticks out is how Breivik constructs his enemy: the combination of three elements (Marxism, multiculturalism and Islamism), each of which belongs to a different political space: the Marxist radical left, multiculturalist liberalism, Islamic religious fundamentalism. The old fascist habit of attributing to the enemy mutually exclusive features (“Bolshevik-plutocratic Jewish plot” – Bolshevik radical left, plutocratic capitalism, ethnic-religious identity) returns here in a new guise.

Even more indicative is the way Breivik’s self-designation shuffles the cards of radical rightist ideology. Breivik advocates Christianity, but remains a secular agnostic: Christianity is for him merely a cultural construct to oppose Islam. He is anti-feminist and thinks women should be discouraged from pursuing higher education; but he favours a “secular” society, supports abortion and declares himself pro-gay.

His predecessor in this respect was Pim Fortuyn, the Dutch rightist populist politician who was killed in early May 2002, two weeks before elections in which he was expected to gain one fifth of the votes. Fortuyn was a paradoxical figure: a rightist populist whose personal features and even opinions (most of them) were almost perfectly “politically correct”. He was gay, had good personal relations with many immigrants, displayed an innate sense of irony – in short, he was a good tolerant liberal with regard to everything except his basic stance towards Muslim immigrants.

What Fortuyn embodied was thus the intersection between rightist populism and liberal political correctness. Indeed, he was the living proof that the opposition between rightist populism and liberal tolerance is a false one, that we are dealing with two sides of the same coin: ie we can have a racism which rejects the other with the argument that it is racist.

Furthermore, Breivik combines Nazi features (also in details – for example, his sympathy for Saga, the Swedish pro-Nazi folk singer) with a hatred of Hitler: one of his heroes is Max Manus, the leader of the Norway anti-Nazi resistance. Breivik is not so much racist as anti-Muslim: all his hatred is focused on the Muslim threat.

And, last but not least, Breivik is antisemitic but pro-Israel, as the state of Israel is the first line of defence against the Muslim expansion – he even wants to see the Jerusalem temple rebuilt. His view is that Jews are OK as long as there aren’t too many of them – or, as he wrote in his manifesto: “There is no Jewish problem in western Europe (with the exception of the UK and France) as we only have 1 million in western Europe, whereas 800,000 out of these 1 million live in France and the UK. The US, on the other hand, with more than 6 million Jews (600% more than Europe) actually has a considerable Jewish problem.” He realises the ultimate paradox of a Zionist Nazi – how is this possible?

A key is provided by the reactions of the European right to Breivik’s attack: its mantra was that in condemning his murderous act, we should not forget that he addressed “legitimate concerns about genuine problems” – mainstream politics is failing to address the corrosion of Europe by Islamicisation and multiculturalism, or, to quote the Jerusalem Post, we should use the Oslo tragedy “as an opportunity to seriously re-evaluate policies for immigrant integration in Norway and elsewhere”. The newspaper has since apologised for this editorial. (Incidentally, we are yet to hear a similar interpretation of the Palestinian acts of terror, something like “these acts of terror should serve as an opportunity to re-evaluate Israeli politics”.)

A reference to Israel is, of course, implicit in this evaluation: a “multicultural” Israel has no chance to survive; apartheid is the only realistic option. The price for this properly perverse Zionist-rightist pact is that, in order to justify the claim to Palestine, one has to acknowledge retroactively the line of argumentation which was previously, in earlier European history, used against the Jews: the implicit deal is “we are ready to acknowledge your intolerance towards other cultures in your midst if you acknowledge our right not to tolerate Palestinians in our midst”.


Breivik’s guru comes out of hiding, briefly

Peder Jensen, the 36-year-old Norwegian blogger, who until now has only been publicly known as “Fjordman“, was cited in terrorist Anders Behring Breivik’s manifesto 111 times. The blogger has just given his first and only interview with the Norwegian tabloid, VG, after having been questioned for hours by Norwegian police. He says he is now going into hiding for his own safety.

I have not read the manifesto, but I have seen bits and pieces referred in the media, and some parts have been shown to me by others, he says.

During the period between 2009 and 2010 he received a handful of emails from Breivik, where he told Jensen that he was working on a book. In one email written towards the end of 2009, he also asked if he could meet his political idol «Fjordman». Jensen refused.

I don’t know why he wanted to meet me, but I declined. Not because of his extreme views, but because he didn’t seem very interesting – like a vacuum cleaner salesman. «Pie in the sky», I thought to myself when I re-read the emails, says Jensen, again stressing that he never met Breivik personally.

Police sources confirm that Jensen has been questioned as the blogger «Fjordman», and that they are certain of his identity.

– I feel it’s my duty to give a statement to the police, and I wanted to do this interview because my name eventually would have emerged anyway, resulting in a media frenzy. It is also a way for me to clear my name, says Jensen.

Norwegian police confiscated his computer Thursday, and even though he was questioned as a witness, he feels that the police are looking to implicate him.

Maybe one of things the police will be looking for on Jensen’s computer is a copy of Breivik’s manifesto.

I realize this guy must be feeling extremely paranoid right now but the idea that he would be told that he was a guiding light for Breivik and that he had been cited that number of times, and yet to decide not to read the manifesto — that seems hard to fathom.

Having questioned Jensen, I wonder whether Norwegian investigators have also expressed any interest in talking to Jensen’s ideological counterparts in the US, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, and if so, would these “counter-jihadists” agree to help the inquiry?


Where is the American version of Breivik and why has he not struck yet? Or has he?

Max Blumenthal writes:

Few political terrorists in recent history took as much care to articulate their ideological influences and political views as Anders Behring Breivik did. The right-wing Norwegian Islamophobe who murdered 76 children and adults in Oslo and at a government-run youth camp spent months, if not years, preparing his 1,500 page manifesto.

Besides its length, one of the most remarkable aspects of the manifesto is the extent to which its European author quoted from the writings of figures from the American conservative movement. Though he referred heavily to his fellow Norwegian, the blogger Fjordman, it was Robert Spencer, the American Islamophobic pseudo-academic, who received the most references from Breivik — 55 in all. Then there was Daniel Pipes, the Muslim-bashing American neoconservative who earned 18 citations from the terrorist. Other American anti-Muslim characters appear prominently in the manifesto, including the extremist blogger Pam Geller, who operates an Islamophobic organization in partnership with Spencer.

Breivik may have developed his destructive sensibility in the stark political environment of a European continent riveted by mass immigration from the Muslim world, but his conceptualization of the changes he was witnessing reflect the influence of a cadre of far-right bloggers and activists from across the Atlantic Ocean. He not only mimicked their terminology and emulated their language, he substantially adopted their political worldview. The profound impact of the American right’s Islamophobic subculture on Breivik’s thinking raises a question that has not been adequately explored: Where is the American version of Breivik and why has he not struck yet? Or has he?

Many of the American writers who influenced Breivik spent years churning out calls for the mass murder of Muslims, Palestinians and their left-wing Western supporters. But the sort of terrorism these US-based rightists incited for was not the style the Norwegian killer would eventually adopt. Instead of Breivik’s renegade free-booting, they preferred the “shock and awe” brand of state terror perfected by Western armies against the brown hordes threatening to impose Sharia law on the people in Peoria. This kind of violence provides a righteous satisfaction so powerful it can be experienced from thousands of miles away.

And so most American Islamophobes simply sit back from the comfort of their homes and cheer as American and Israeli troops — and their remote-controlled aerial drones — leave a trail of charred bodies from Waziristan to Gaza City. Only a select group of able-bodied Islamophobes are willing to suit up in a uniform and rush to the front lines of the clash of civilizations. There, they have discovered that they can mow down Muslim non-combatants without much fear of legal consequences, and that when they return, they will be celebrated as the elite Crusader-warriors of the new Islamophobic right — a few particularly violent figures have been rewarded with seats in Congress. Given the variety of culturally acceptable, officially approved outlets for venting violent anti-Muslim resentment, there is little reason for any American to follow in Breivik’s path of infamy.


Islamophobia, Zionism and the Norway massacre

In a Washington Post op-ed, Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League compared the Islamophobia that led Anders Behring Breivik to massacre 77 innocent people in Norway to the anti-Semitism that resulted in the Holocaust.

Ali Abunimah welcomes the fact that Foxman is echoing what he and many others have pointed out in recent years.

Foxman points the finger – as others have rightly done – at extreme Islamophobic agitators such as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, co-founders of “Stop Islamisation of America” – whose hate-filled writings Breivik cited in his manifesto.

So far, Foxman has it right. But then he drops a clue about what really frightens him:

“One bizarre twist to Breivik’s warped worldview was his pro-Zionism – his strongly expressed support for the state of Israel. It is a reminder that we must always be wary of those whose love for the Jewish people is born out of hatred of Muslims or Arabs.”

Who does Foxman think he is kidding? There is nothing “bizarre” about this at all. Indeed Foxman himself has done much to bestow credibility on extremists who have helped popularise the Islamophobic views he now condemns. And he did it all to shore up support for Israel.

After Norway, Foxman may fear that the Islamophobic genie he helped unleash is out of control, and is a dangerous liability for him and for Israel.

Many American Zionists embraced Islamophobic demagoguery after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Their logic was encapsulated in then-Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s notorious assessment that the attacks – which killed almost 3,000 people – would be beneficial for Israel.

Asked what the 9/11 atrocities would mean for US-Israeli relations, Netanyahu told The New York Times, “It’s very good”, before quickly adding, “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy” and would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror”.

In order for Israel and the United States to have the same enemy, the enemy could not just be the Palestinians, who never threatened the United States in any way. It had to be something bigger and even more menacing – and Islam fit the bill. The hyped-up narrative of an all-encompassing Islamic threat allowed Israel to be presented as the bastion of “western” and “Judeo-Christian” civilisation facing down encroaching Muslim barbarity. No audience was more receptive than politically influential, white, right-wing Christian evangelical pastors and their flocks.


Pamela Geller condemns victims of terrorism in Norway

Anyone can denounce violence. Ku Klux Klan leaders and all sorts of other hatemongers are well practiced in making pro forma statements about being law-abiding, peace-loving Americans. So when Pamela Geller says “I abhor violence” but then goes on to describe the victims of Anders Behring Breivik’s shooting rampage as members of an “indoctrination camp” who can reasonably be compared to Hitler Youth, we all know what she’s really saying: they had it coming.

Charles Johnson writes:

After spending a few days mouthing the expected rote denunciations of Oslo terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, Pamela Geller was clearly chafing at the bit to get back to her usual fare, and today she did just that by attacking Breivik’s victims: SUMMER CAMP? ANTISEMITIC INDOCTRINATION TRAINING CENTER!!!!!! – Atlas Shrugs.

She agrees with Breivik’s assessment of the camp, wholeheartedly. According to Geller, the children at the camp were being indoctrinated with “a pro-Islamic agenda,” and the “jihad-loving media” are hiding it from true patriots like her.

She’s careful to mouth more platitudes about deploring any kind of violence — except “self defense” — but then makes the same argument Breivik made: that the camp was turning out enemies of Western civilization.

If you follow Geller’s argument to its sickening logical conclusion, it leads directly to Anders Behring Breivik.

As for Geller’s glaring ignorance about Norwegian society, it’s summed up here where she describes the function of the Labour party “indoctrination camp”:

It’s so the junior members of the aristocracy can be properly told what to think and can network with each other in preparation for their brilliant careers ruling over the peasants.

The peasants? Norway happens to have the most educated population in the world. And when it comes to distribution of wealth, Norway is in reality the kind of country most Americans dream they could live.


Norway attacks: How far right views created Anders Behring Breivik

The Guardian reports:

The fact that Breivik chose the internet to disseminate his ideology is important. His journey to terrorism was forged within a network of blogs where violence is glorified and multiculturalism despised, along with those who embrace it.

One expert in European rightwing extremism, Andrea Mammone of Kingston University London, says the content of Breivik’s hate was not new, only the manner in which it was fostered.

“The internet is extremely effective at formulating extremist ideals; killing for him was not so strange, it was about killing people who were not like him, who shared different values. He considered himself a new type of elite warrior.”

A bleak scenario is that Breivik – one of thousands who regularly visit such sites – is merely the debutant warrior from a generation that is the first to witness the sociological upheaval caused by the arrival of mass immigration into Scandinavia’s tightly knit, homogeneous communities. Equally crucially, it is the first generation that is internet-savvy.

Matthew Goodwin, rightwing extremism expert at the University of Nottingham, adds that Breivik was radicalised by the same online process as many of the jihadists he so loathed.


On Norway’s emotional maturity

As Norway has demonstrated this week, anger is often nothing more than the inability to experience grief and acknowledge loss.

Knut Olav Amas writes:

Exactly a week has passed since the twin terror attacks on Norway. As of this writing, the death toll stands at seventy-seven, and more than thirty people, mostly young, are still in the hospital, many of them seriously wounded by the dum-dum bullets used by Anders Behring Breivik. I walked Oslo’s streets again last night, from my newspaper’s office to the Parliament, the government offices, and the cathedral, to observe and understand the grief following the tragedy.

I’ve lived in Oslo for fifteen years, and I’ve never seen my city like this. An ocean of roses is now covering the streets of Oslo and the shores close to Utoya, thirty minutes away, to honor the dead and wounded. These hundreds of thousands of flowers have been brought by a never-ending flow of silent people, young and old. Never before has Norway seen so many people muted for such a long time.

They are also carrying Norwegian flags. We don’t wave our flag all the time the way Americans do, except on May 17th, our national holiday, celebrating the anniversary of the signing our constitution in 1814. In fact, carrying the national flag the rest of the year has been seen as a sign of overwrought patriotism.

Not any longer. Now the flag is again a source of pride, a silent celebration of the joy of being alive and of living in a privileged society. A society where it has long been a virtue to keep a cool head, but not necessarily a warm heart, as the Norwegian author Jo Nesbo noted in the New York Times this week.

In several ways Oslo today reminds me of New York City in the year or so after 9/11: the flags, the flowers, the improvised memorials on street corners and walls. But, more than this, I remember the new and kinder ways people treated each other, transforming the city into a warm, inclusive space. The countless small acts of solidarity in Oslo this week demonstrate that there are other ways to respond to severe threats to a nation than black-and-white thinking. A week later, it’s clear that Norway is working perfectly well even after a traumatic terror attack from within.

The most striking feature of Norway the past seven days is the captivating blend of public emotion and clearheaded, principled liberalism. Leading politicians, including Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Mayor Fabian Stang, have been talking about love, compassion, and consideration. Their words have touched so many of us because they are neither cynical nor calculating—nor are they superficial.


Pamela Geller’s ties to violence in Norway

Charles Johnson reveals:

In June 2007, “counter-jihad” blogger Pamela Geller posted the following Email from Norway, from a reader who sounds a lot like the Oslo terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik.

Geller’s post began:

I am running an email I received from an Atlas reader in Norway. It is devastating in its matter-of-factness.
[The email begins] Well, yes, the situation is worsening. Stepping up from 29 000 immigrants every year, in 2007 we will be getting a total of 35 000 immigrants from somalia, iran, iraq and afghanistan. The nations capital is already 50% muslim, and they ALL go there after entering Norway. Adding the 1.2 births per woman per year from muslim women, there will be 300 000+ muslims out of the then 480 000 inhabitants of that city.

Orders from Libya and Iran say that Oslo will be known as Medina at the latest in 2010, although I consider this a PR-stunt nevertheless it is their plan.

From Israel the hordes clawing at the walls of Jerusalem proclaim cheerfully that next year there will be no more Israel, and I know Israel shrugs this off as do I, and will mount a strike during the summer against all of its enemies in the middle east. This will make the muslims worldwide go into a frenzy, attacking everyone around them.

The email Geller had received, continued:

We are stockpiling and caching weapons, ammunition and equipment. This is going to happen fast.

Geller subsequently deleted these lines, and as Johnson and others have established, she deleted them after Breivik’s July 22 bombing and shooting rampage.

If Geller was knowingly in communication with Breivik then she should probably be helping Norwegian authorities with their investigation.

But even if neither in this instance nor any other did she communicate with him, the contents of the email that Johnson has unearthed are no less damning. They suggest that far from condemning those individuals in Norway who she knew were preparing for armed violence, she chose to showcase their plans as though to say, “we’re with you.”

Update: This afternoon, Geller responded to Johnson’s post and acknowledges that after the massacre she removed the sentence from her 2007 post “as I found it insenstive [sic] and inappropriate.” She also says her email correspondent was not Breivik.

The sentence I edited is not an incitement to anything. It refers to self-defense, but I removed it in the light of recent horrific events in Norway. I thought it insensitive. Nothing more.

Everyone has a right to self-defense.

There are no doubt many members of armed militias across America who share Geller’s view that anyone has the right to stockpile weapons, ammunition and equipment in preparation for “self-defense” against the US government, enemies of the White race, Muslims, Jews or whatever groups or entities they happen to have demonized.

Such militias and the philosophies they espouse provide a breeding ground for the kind of paranoia that on occasions results in mass murder.


Seeds of terror in Norway

Andrew Gumbel writes:

America’s violent far right would have no difficulty recognizing the tell-tale signatures of Friday’s killing spree in Norway — and not just because they would see the confessed perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, as an ideological soul mate who, like their own heroes, thought he could trigger a white-supremacist revolution with bombs and bullets.

Breivik appears to have been more than simply inspired by American predecessors such as Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber: The materials he used, the way he planned and carried out his attacks, and his own writings all suggest he was deeply familiar with the actions of some notorious political killers on this side of the Atlantic.

Breivik possessed a Glock semiautomatic, the same weapon McVeigh was carrying when he was arrested by a hawk-eyed Highway Patrol officer 90 minutes after the April 1995 bombing in Oklahoma. Breivik also possessed a .223-caliber Ruger assault rifle, just like McVeigh.

The Ruger, in fact, has a long history of use by violent extremists because it is dependable, easy to load and fire, and cheaper than an AR-15 or M-16. It is also convertible, without much difficulty, to a fully automatic weapon.

Gordon Kahl, an iconic white-supremacist tax protester, was armed with a Ruger Mini-14 — the same model as Breivik’s — when he led the FBI on a multi-state shooting spree from North Dakota to Arkansas in 1983. Richard Wayne Snell, a protege of Kahl’s, was carrying a Mini-14 when he killed the only black trooper in southwestern Arkansas in 1984 and then battled it out with police across the state line in Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, the Irish Times reports:

Breivik played the online role-playing war game World of Warcraft with a Dutch enthusiast – who won the Norwegian gunman’s approval because he’d voted for far-right leader Geert Wilders.

In his 1,500-page manifesto, Breivik describes how he used Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft and Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to prepare for last Friday’s twin attacks which left a total of 76 people dead.

“I just bought Modern Warfare 2, the game,” he wrote in the document, entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence . “It is probably the best military simulator out there and it’s one of the hottest games this year. I see MW2 more as part of my training-simulation than anything else.”

It emerged yesterday that one of Breivik’s regular opponents in the multi-player computer game – known as WoW – was Dutch video games enthusiast, Jeroen Rink, who had no idea of Breivik’s real political views or of the double massacre he was allegedly planning.


An un-American response to the Oslo attack

Glenn Greenwald writes:

Over the last decade, virtually every Terrorist plot aimed at the U.S. — whether successful or failed — has provoked greater security and surveillance measures.  Within a matter of mere weeks, the 9/11 attacks infamously spawned a vast new surveillance statute (the Patriot Act), a secretly implemented warrantless eavesdropping program in violation of the law, an explosion of domestic surveillance contracts, a vastly fortified secrecy regime, and endless wars in multiple countries.  As it turned out, that massive over-reaction was not a crisis-driven anomaly but rather the template for future actions. 

The failed Christmas Day bombing over Detroit led to an erosion of Miranda rights and judge-free detentions as well as a due-process free assassination program aimed at an Muslim American preacher whose message allegedly “inspired” the attacker.  The failed Times Square bombing was repeatedly cited to justify reform-free extension of the Patriot Act along with a slew of measures to maximize government scrutiny of the Internet.  That failed plot, along with Nidal Hasan’s shooting at Fort Hood, provoked McCarthyite Congressional hearings into American Muslims and helped sustain a shockingly broad interpretation of “material support for Terrorism” that criminalizes free speech.  In sum, every Terrorist plot is immediately exploited as a pretext for expanding America’s Security State; the response to every plot: we need to sacrifice more liberties, increase secrecy, and further empower the government.


Ex-Berlusconi minister defends Anders Behring Breivik

The Guardian reports:

One of Silvio Berlusconi’s former ministers has defended the thinking of the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.

Interviewed on a popular radio show, Francesco Speroni, a leading member of the Northern League, the junior partner in Berlusconi’s conservative coalition, said: “Breivik’s ideas are in defence of western civilisation.”

Speroni spoke as other right-wingers around Europe, including leading officials of his own party, distanced themselves from the massacre on Utøya and the ideology that inspired it.

The Italian politician was endorsing the comments of another high-profile member of the league who had drawn fierce criticism for arguing that the killings might have been part of a plot to discredit hardline conservative thinkers. Like many in his party, Mario Borghezio, who sits in the European parliament, is an admirer of the writings of the late Italian journalist and author Oriana Fallaci, who popularised the term Eurabia to describe a future, supposedly Islamised Europe.


Crime and punishment

Norway's prison guards undergo two years of training at an officers' academy and enjoy an elevated status compared with their peers in the U.S. and Britain. Their official job description says they must motivate the inmate 'so that his sentence is as meaningful, enlightening and rehabilitating as possible,' so they frequently eat meals and play sports with prisoners. At Halden high-security prison, half of all guards are female, which its governor believes reduces tension and encourages good behavior. -- Time Magazine

Reading Anders Behring Breivik’s account of his preparations for his July 22 attacks in Oslo and Utøya evokes a certain dread at the sight of such a deliberate effort to cause carnage. Breivik expresses no doubt about what he is doing other than the fear that he might run out of funds and be unable to rent the car in which he intends to load explosives.

Mass murder, committed with such cold calculation surely merits the harshest punishment. Many Americans are thus now perplexed to learn about the apparent leniency of Norway’s penal system. Eli Lake’s views, as expressed in conversation with Hans-Inge Lango, will be shared by many.

But if Norway’s approach to crime is really sending the wrong message, just look at the numbers: an incarceration rate of 71 per 100,000 Norwegians versus 743 per 100,000 Americans; and while in Norway 80% of prisoners once released never return to jail, in the US almost 70% end up back behind bars.

Americans should not be asking whether Norway is capable of being tough enough with terrorists, but instead why a country that spends more on its security than any other also imprisons more of its own citizens than any other. (And for any of the xenophobes out there who might want to attribute America’s high incarceration rate to the high number of immigrants in this country, Germany has a similar proportion of immigrants and an incarceration rate of 85 per 100,000.)


Why Norway terror accused Breivik says he loves Israel

Tony Karon writes:

There was a time when a blond, blue-eyed nationalist looking to violently rid Europe of its “alien” immigrant population could be reliably assumed to hate Jews. It’s no longer quite that simple.

Anders Behring Breivik insists, in his rambling 1,500-page manifesto released on the day of his confessed rampage that killed 76 Norwegians, that he’s no Nazi, despite expressing some sympathy for what Hitler had been trying to achieve. Instead he styles himself a latter-day warrior of the Knights Templar, vanguard force of the medieaval Christian Crusades that briefly claimed the Holy Land for Christendom and made Jerusalem’s streets run ankle deep with the blood of those they saw as usurpers. Even then, it’s worth remembering that the blood spilled by the Crusaders was both Muslim and Jewish.

Despite the Crusader lineage to which he aspires, however, Breivik has no intention of driving Jews from Europe, much less from the Holy Land. On the contrary, his manifesto hails Zionist Jews as a crucial ally in his battle between Christendom and Islam, proclaiming Israel as the frontline citadel in that war. Breivik’s Crusade would have Jews on board for an existential fight against Islam; the mirror image of the “Crusader-Jewish” alliance that Osama bin Laden vowed to drive out of what he defined as Muslim lands.


Norwegians still see the occupation as reason for attacks on Israel

In the Hebrew daily, Ma’ariv, Norway’s ambassador to Israel, Svein Sevje, was interviewed on Tuesday and asked whether the attacks in Oslo and Utøya carried out by Anders Behring Breivik, will alter Norwegians’ perception of Palestinian attacks on Israel.

Q: Has this caused you to undertake some soul-searching? Has it changed Norway’s and its citizens’ opinion as to what the international community calls the battle against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank?

Probably not. We Norwegians consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel. Many Norwegians still consider the occupation to be the reason for the attacks on Israel. Those who believe this will not change their mind because of the attack in Oslo.

Q: In general, the perception in Israel is that you are against us. Why?

You have to explain to me why Israelis perceive us to be against you. I don’t think that Norway is anti-Israel, but rather criticism of the occupation and what we consider a violation of international law and support for the Palestinians’ right to have a state. We have supported Israel since its establishment. And then 1967 came along and the occupation and the settlements—and Norway’s attitude toward Israel changed. The Palestinians are the weak side, and Norway tends to support the weak side. Incidentally, Israelis may be surprised to learn the depth of the connection between Israel and Norway. For example, the Norwegian pension fund invested a billion dollars in Israeli companies. This is despite the fact that there are Israeli companies in which we don’t invest because they violate international law and are building the separation fence.

Q: Some Israelis would say that the terror attack in Norway is an “eye for an eye” for your positions against Israel.

Then I say that they are mistaken. The Norwegians will not change their position because of what happened. It will not change our understanding of international law and justice.

Q: Will this terrible terror attack have ramifications for the Muslim community in your country?

I will quote from Sholem Aleichem’s play Tevye the Milkman, in which I played the small role of Rabbi Nahum the butcher in 1968. When they were persecuted, one of the Jews said they should restore “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” to the pogroms. Tevye said: “and we’ll do this until the world no longer has any teeth or eyes?” In other words, the answer is no. As our prime minister said: we will respond with more openness, transparency and democracy.

Q: Why are you, out of all the important Europe states, the only one to say in a clear voice that you will support recognition of Palestinian state in the UN?

Norway has said that it prefers an arrangement reached through negotiations, but we think that it is legitimate for the Palestinian side to go to the UN.

Q: If you were the world policeman today, what would your parameters be for resuming the talks?

In general, resuming the negotiations would be based on the 1967 borders with a land swap on a scale of 1:1, dividing Jerusalem as the capital of the two states, a symbolic solution to the refugee problem and compensation by means of a fund to the refugees.

Q: Are you in favor of a political dialogue with Hamas?

We have no political dialogue with Hamas, but we do have connections on the level of senior officials and we meet with them. Can Israel and the Palestinians solve the problems without Hamas? I don’t think so.


Norway believes democracy is the best way of challenging terrorism

Just imagine if these words had come out of George Bush’s mouth after 9/11: “The American response to violence is more democracy, more openness and greater political participation.”

The Guardian reports:

The Norwegian prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, says his country will “not be intimidated or threatened” by Friday’s terror attacks, which left 76 people dead.

The country would “stand firm in defending our values” and the “open, tolerant and inclusive society”, he said. “The Norwegian response to violence is more democracy, more openness and greater political participation.”

The “horrific and brutal” attacks were an assault on Norway’s “fundamental values”, added Stoltenberg. “We have to be very clear to distinguish between extreme views, opinions that it’s completely legal, legitimate to have. What is not legitimate is to try to implement those extreme views by using violence,” he said.

Earlier, police detonated a cache of explosives at a farm rented by Anders Behring Breivik. Detectives believe the 32-year-old made the bomb that killed eight people in Oslo on Friday using fertiliser he purchased under the guise of being a farmer.

The controlled explosion came after police named four of the victims, including three caught up in the city centre bombing and a 23-year-old shot dead on Utøya island. Police would not reveal the quantity of explosives found at the farm in Rena, about 100 miles north of the capital, Oslo.

As the investigation continues, security officials have cast doubt on Breivik’s claims that he has accomplices who are still at large. At his first court appearance in Oslo on Monday, he told a closed courtroom he had links to “two other terror cells”.

But Norway’s domestic intelligence chief, Janne Kristiansen, said no proof has yet been found to link Breivik to rightwing extremists in the UK or elsewhere. She told the BBC: “I can tell you, at this moment in time, we don’t have evidence or we don’t have indications that he has been part of a broader movement or that he has been in connection with other cells or that there are other cells.”

Kristiansen added that she did not believe the killer was insane, but was calculating and evil, and someone who sought the limelight.


Norway gunman a frightening reminder of radical right terrorist threat in the US

At the Southern Poverty Law Center, Heidi Beirich writes about the ideological trends in the United States that parallel those articulated by Anders Behring Breivik, who rails against cultural Marxism in his manifesto.

Fears of “cultural Marxism” have a long pedigree in this country. It’s a conspiratorial kind of “political correctness” on steroids — a covert assault on the American way of life that allegedly has been developed by the left over the course of the last 70 years. Those who use the term posit that a small group of German philosophers, all Jews who fled Germany and went to Columbia University in the 1930s to found the Frankfurt School, devised a cultural form of “Marxism” aimed at subverting Western civilization. The method involves manipulating the culture into supporting homosexuality, sex education, egalitarianism, and the like, to the point that traditional institutions and culture are ultimately wrecked.

A number of hate groups, including the racist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), have raised the spectre of cultural Marxism as a way to explain contemporary events (click here to watch the CCC’s DVD on the theory). Some prominent conservatives also adopted the conspiratorial theory (culturalmarxism.org features MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan and Texas Congressman Ron Paul). In 2002, William Lind of the Free Congress Foundation, a far-right outfit long headed by the now deceased Paul Weyrich (one of the founders of the Moral Majority), gave a speech about the theory to a Holocaust denial conference. Saying he was “not among those who question whether the Holocaust occurred,” Lind went on to lay blame for “political correctness” and other evils on so-called “cultural Marxists,” who, he said, “were all Jewish” (Lind is mentioned in passing in Breivik’s manifesto).

Breivik shares more than fears of cultural Marxism with America’s radical right. A recent SPLC report documented an increasingly reckless campaign to vilify American Muslims, driven in some cases by mainstream poltical figures. If irresponsible ideologues or public figures use the upcoming ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to further demonize American Muslims, this population may be great danger (in the past year, there have been serious attacks on mosques and other Islamic institutions. For more, read here and here).

Tensions are arising here for very much the same reasons as they are in Europe: societies on both sides of the pond are becoming more demographically diverse. In Europe, the targets of radical-right extremists are typically Muslims, because they make up a large share of European immigrants. In the U.S., until recently, ire has mostly been directed at Latinos and Latino immigrants. This growing population is blamed by racist ideologues for the impending end of a white majority, which will come midcentury according to the Census.

That racial fears could drive someone to kill on a massive scale should come as no surprise. Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in 1995, taking his blueprint for the Oklahoma City bombing from the gruesome race-war novel, The Turner Diaries, written by neo-Nazi leader William Pierce. Between McVeigh’s April 19, 1995 bombing and early 2011, the SPLC has documented some 100 domestic terror plots by right-wing extremists. In recent years, these attacks have been propelled by additional factors such as the election of the nation’s first black president and the troubled economy.

The obvious danger from radical-right domestic terrorism makes it all the more galling that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has largely given up its efforts to monitor such threats. In April 2009, the department released a report, “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” warning of possible violence from racists, radical antigovernment types and others. The report was prescient; within a few month of its release two major domestic terrorist attacks took place. But that didn’t stop conservative analysts from savaging the report after it was leaked shortly after its release.

It was one thing for the right-wing media to savage the report; what was truly shocking was DHS’s reaction. The department ended up gutting its non-Islamic domestic extremism intelligence unit, which had been led since its inception by veteran intelligence analyst Daryl Johnson. Johnson recently talked to the SPLC about how the DHS bowed to the political pressure and basically abandoned its role in protecting the country from radical-right threats (The Washington Post provided further evidence here).

“[M]y greatest fear is that domestic extremists in this country will somehow become emboldened to the point of carrying out a mass-casualty attack, because they perceive that no one is being vigilant about the threat from within,” Johnson told SPLC referring to the fact that DHS is out of the non-Islamic domestic terrorism business. “That is what keeps me up at night.”

The SPLC’s CEO J. Richard Cohen recently asked DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to reconsider the department’s actions. The Oslo attacks are a reminder of why this is so critically important.