The Norwegian Massacre, the State , the Media and Israel
by Prof. James Petras / My Catbird Seat
“. . . two more cells exist in my organization”. . . Ander Behring Breivik in police custody (Reuters 7/25/11)
The July 22, 2011, bombing of the office of the Norwegian Prime Minister, Labor Party Jen Stoltenberg, which killed 8 civilians, and the subsequent political assassination of 68 unarmed activists of the Labor Party Youth on Utoeya Island, just 20 minutes from Oslo, by militant neo-fascist Christian-Zionists, raises fundamental questions about the growing links between the legal Far-Right, the ‘mainstream media’, the Norwegian police, Israel and rightwing terrorism.
The Mass Media and the Rise of Rightwing Terrorism:
The leading English language newspapers, The New York Times (NYT), the Washington Post (WP), the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and the Financial Times (FT), as well as President Obama, blamed “Islamic extremists”, upon the first police reports of the killings, publishing a series of incendiary (and false) headlines and reports, labeling the event as ‘Norway’s 9-11’,in terms, which echoed the ideological motivation and justifications cited by the Norwegian Christian-Zionist political assassin, Anders Behring Breivik himself,. The July 23/24 front page of the Financial Times (of London), read “Islamist extremism fears: Worst Europe strike since 2005”. Obama immediately cited the terrorist attack in Norway to further justify his overseas wars against Muslim countries. The FT, NYT, WP and WSJ trotted out their self-styled “experts” who debated over which Arab/Islamic leaders or movements were responsible – despite Norwegian press reports of ‘the arrest of a Nordic man in police uniform’.
Clearly, the US mass media and political elite were eager to use the bombing and assassinations to justify ongoing overseas imperial wars, ignoring the burgeoning domestic extremist rightwing organizations and violent individuals who are the outgrowth of official Islamophobic hate propaganda.
When Anders Breivik, a known neo-fascist extremist, handed his weapons over to Norwegian police without resistance and claimed credit for the bombing and massacre, the second phase of the official cover-up took place: He was immediately described as “a lone wolf assassin”, who “acted alone” (BBC July 24, 2011) or as mentally deranged, downplaying his political networks, his American, European and Israeli ideological mentors and commitments, which led to his acts of terrorism. Even more outrageous, the media and officials ignored the fact that this complex, multiphase terrorist attack was beyond the capacity of one ‘deranged’ person.
Anders Behring Breivik had been a dues-paying member of a Far-Right political party, The Progress Party and a collaborator and contributor to an overtly neo-Nazi web site. He frequently focused his hatred on the ruling Labor Party for its relative tolerance of immigrants. He despised immigrants especially, Muslims, and was an ardent Christian-Zionist supporter of Israeli repression and terror against the Palestinian people. His criminal action was political in essence and embedded in a much wider political network.
The political elite and media have scrambled to deny the overlapping links between ‘legal’ ideological Islamophobes, like the American Zionists Daniel Pipes, David Horowitz, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, the Dutch far-right Party of Freedom led by the hate-monger Geert Wilders and their counterparts in the Norwegian Progress Party who rail against the “Muslim threat”. The “direct action” terrorists take their cues from electoral parties, like the Progress Party, who recruit and indoctrinate activists, like Behring Breivik, who then leave the ‘electoral road’ to carry out their bloody carnage, allowing the ‘respectable’ hate-mongers to hypocritically condemn him… after the outrage.
The Lone Assassin: A Fascist Superman Travels Faster than a Speeding Bullet
Versus the Police Moving Slower than an Arthritic Turtle:
The case for the “lone wolf terrorist” defies credence. It is a tissue of lies used to cover up state complicity, intelligence malfeasance, and the sharp right-turn in the domestic and foreign policies of NATO countries.
There is no basis to accept Breivik’s initial claim that he acted alone for several outstanding reasons: First, the car bomb, which devastated downtown Oslo, was a highly complex weapon requiring expertise and coordination – the kind available to state or intelligence services, like the Mossad, which specialize in devastating car bombs. Amateurs, like Breivik, with no training in explosives, usually blow themselves up or lack the skill required to connect the electronic timing devices or remote detonators (like the unsuccessful ‘shoe’, ‘underpants’ and ‘Times Square’ bombers have proved) . Secondly, the details of (a) moving the bomb, (b) obtaining (stealing) a vehicle, (c) placing the device at the strategic site, (d) successfully detonating it and (e) then gowning up in an elaborate special police uniform with an arsenal of hundreds of rounds of ammunition and driving off in another vehicle to Utoeya Island, (f) waiting patiently while armed to the teeth for a ferry boat, g) crossing with other passengers in his police uniform, (h) rounding up the Labor youth activists and commencing the massacre of scores of unarmed youth and finally (i) finishing off the wounded and hunting for those trying to hide or swim away – is not the activity of a lone zealot. Even the combination of Superman, Einstein and a world class marksman could not perform those tasks.
The media and NATO leaders must view the public as passive morons to expect them to believe that Anders Behring Breivik “acted alone”. He is willing to take a 20 year prison sentence if it means, as he maintains, that their collective action is the spark that ignites his comrades and advances the agenda of the violent and legal far rightwing parties. Facing a Norwegian judge on July 25, he publically declared the existence of “two more cells in my organization”. According to witness testimony on Utoeya Island shots from two distinct weapons were heard from different directions during the massacre. The police say they are… “investigating”. Needless to say the police have found nothing; instead they put on a “show” to cover their inaction by raiding two houses far from the massacre and quickly released the suspects.
The most serious political implication of the terrorist action, however, is the conspicuous complicity of top police officials. The police took 90 minutes to arrive at Utoeya Island, located less than 20 kilometers from Oslo, 12 minutes by helicopter and 25 to 30 minutes by car and boat. The delay allowed the right wing assassins to use up the ammunition, maximizing the death toll of young, anti-fascist activists and devastating the Labor youth movement. The police chief, Sveinung Sponheim, made the feeblest excuse and cover-up, claiming “problems with transport”. Sponheim argued that a helicopter “wasn’t on standby” and they “could not find a boat” (Associated Press, July 24, 2011). Yet a helicopter was available; it managed to fly to Utoeya and film the ongoing slaughter, and over half of Norwegians, a seafaring people for millennia, own or have access to a boat. A police force, faced with what the Prime Minister calls the ‘worst atrocity since the Nazi occupation’, moving at the pace of an arthritic turtle to rescue youth activists, raises the suspicion of some level of complicity. The obvious question arises as to the degree to which the ideology of right wing extremism – neo-fascism – has penetrated the police and security forces, especially the upper echelons? This level of “inactivity” raises more questions than it answers. What it suggests is that the Social Democrats only control part of the Government – the legislative, while the neo-fascists influence the state apparatus.
The plain fact is that the police did not save a single life. When they finally arrived, Anders Behring Breivik had run out of ammunition and surrendered turning himself over to the police. The police literally did not fire a single shot; they did not even have to hunt or capture the assassin. An almost choreographed scenario: Hundreds wounded, 68 unarmed, peaceful activists killed and the Labor youth movement decimated.
The police can claim “crime solved” while the mass media prattles about a “lone assassin”. The far right has a “martyr” to mask a further advance in their anti-Muslim, pro Israel crusade. (It is reminiscent of the celebrated Israeli-American fascist mass murderer, Dr. Baruch Goldstein, who slaughtered dozens of unarmed Palestinian men and boys at prayer in 1994).
Only two days before the political murders, the head of the Labor Party Youth Movement, Eskil Pederson, gave an interview to the Dagbladet, Norway’s second largest tabloid, in which he announced a “unilateral economic embargo of Israel from the Norwegian side” (Gilad Atzmon, July 24, 2011).
The fact of the matter is that the Norwegian military has no problem promptly dispatching 500 troops to Afghanistan, half way around the world and providing six Norwegian Air Force jets and pilots to bomb and terrorize Libya. And yet they can’t find a helicopter or a row boat to transport their police a couple hundred yards to stop a domestic right wing terrorist – whose murderous rampage was being described second by second by the terrorized young victims on their cell phones to their frantic parents?
The Imperial Roots of Domestic Fascism: Conclusion
Clearly, the decisions of Norway and other Scandinavian nations to participate in the US imperial crusades against Muslim and especially Arab people in the Middle East have aroused and energized the neo-fascist right. They now want to “bring the war home”; they want Norway to go further, to ‘cleanse the nation’ by expelling Muslims. They want to “send a message” to the Labor Party: Either it must accept a full neo-fascist pro-Israeli agenda or expect more massacres, more elected fascists, more followers of Anders Behring Breivik.
The “Progress Party” is now the second largest political party in Norway. If a “conservative” coalition defeats Labor, neo-fascists will probably sit in the Government. Who knows, after a few years of good behavior, they might find an excuse to commute their ex-comrades sentence . . . or proclaim him mentally rehabilitated and freed.
Clearly what is needed is the immediate withdrawal of all troops from imperial wars and a systematic, coherent and organized fight against domestic right-wing terrorists and their intellectual godparents, in America, Israel and Europe. Labor youth must go press on with their demand that the Labor Government, under Prime Minister Jen Stoltenberg, recognize the nation of Palestine and implement a total boycott of Israeli goods and services. A national and international political-educational campaign must be organized to expose the links between respectable electoral fascists and violent terrorists. The Labor Youth martyrs of Utoeya Island should be cherished and their ideals taught in all the schools. Their far-right enemies and supporters whether overt, covert or directly complicit, should be exposed and condemned. The best weapon against the renewed neo-fascist onslaught is a political and educational offensive, taking up the anti-fascist, anti-Quisling (Norway’s notorious Nazi collaborator) fighting traditions of their grandparents’ era. It’s not too late – if the Labor Party, the Norwegian trade unions and the anti-fascist youth act now before the flood of resurgent fascism.
James Petras, i s a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). He is the author of 64 books published in 29 languages, and over 560 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, Journal of Contemporary Asia, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles. His latest book is War Crimes in Gaza and the Zionist Fifth Column in America. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: JAMES PETRAS MOST RECENT BOOK IS “THE ARAB REVOLT AND THE IMPERIALIST COUNTERATTACK”(CLEAR DAY BOOKS –A SUBSIDIARY OF CLARITY BOOKS :ATLANTA GA) FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO ORDER