Anders Behring Breivik, age 32, has been arrested for the Oslo bombing that killed seven and the Utoya shooting of at least 84. The BBC has a more complete profile. Breivik evidently admits to his role without remorse (see early Friday morning post).
It is being reported that Breivik had over an hour before police arrived to shoot the mostly teenagers attending the Labour Party summer camp on the island of Utoya. The current Prime Minister of Norway is a member of the Labour Party, generally seen as part of the mainstream of the European social democratic left.
The Norwegian newspaper VG provided the following report (I have edited the computer-generated translation):
Anders Behring Breivik is well read with strong opinions about Norwegian politics. He promotes very conservative opinions, which he also called nationalist. He expressed strong opposition to multiculturalism – that cultural differences can live together in a community.
Breivik has had many posts on the site Document.no, an Islam-critical site that publishes news and commentary. In one of the posts he states that today’ politics no longer revolves around socialism versus capitalism, but that the fight is between nationalism and internationalism. He expressed clear support for the nationalist mindset. Anders Behring Breivik has also commented on Swedish news articles, where he makes it clear that he believes the media have failed by not being Islam-critical.
Six days ago he put out his first and only message on the social networking site Twitter, where he laid out a famous quote by British philosopher and libertarian John Stuart Mill,“One person with a belief is equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.”
On Facebook Breivik claims to be the director of his own company Geofarm. (Note by Palin: The farm allowed him to purchase at least three tons of fertilizer earlier this year. This was apparently used in the bomb(s).) He also claims he has an education in finance and religion, but does not disclose the universities attended… The only school he gives is Oslo Handel.
The 32-year-old is among other things, registered as a member of Oslo gun club and the Masonic Lodge. Among other interests he expresses his admiration for Winston Churcill, classical music and Max Manus (a member of the Norwegian resistance in WWII). The 32-year-old man has been active in computer games and has been engaged in the online game World of Warcraft.
Main stream media are now giving this detailed attention. Unless something emerges with significant strategy or policy implications, I doubt further updates by HLSwatch are necessary.
A confession and comment: I was in a fairly important meeting when the news from Oslo made my smartphone vibrate non-stop. I had plenty of time — and space, an ocean away — to be professionally objective.
Even as I attempted to complete my immediate agenda, I considered a wide range of possibilities: natural gas, volcanic venting, several terrorist options including AQ, Taliban, and neo-Nazis. The December 2010 Stockholm attack was at the forefront of my mind… and I was troubled by my inability to remember many salient details. I thought about the Stieg Larsson series and his wide array of bad actors. I did not think of Gaddafi until I read speculation by others.
It was nearly two hours before I had a sufficient break in meetings to access a full-size computer… and to post to HLSWatch. While reading (bad) translations of the local Norwegian reports one of the first blurbs on a shooting at Utoya appeared. My immediate reaction was how in the aftermath of something like the Oslo bombing every other event is blown out of proportion. I assumed there had been a hunting accident or something similar. Even later when I understood Utoya was a summer camp for youth associated with the ruling Labour party I assumed, at worst, an awful coincidence.
It is now clear the Oslo bombing was both a significant attack and a dramatic distraction. The rising generation of the ruling party was, perhaps, Breivik’s principal target. The gunman — dressed as a paramilitary — used the bombing as justification to access the island. Because police were so consumed by the bomb’s consequence their response to the Utoya shootings was significantly delayed and the massacre continued unchallenged for over an hour.
It is a tragic reminder that terrorists (of every stripe) are keen to use our predictable responses as key elements in their planning. Both strategically and tactically, they regularly depend on our own choices to amplify the effectiveness of their attack.