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Mystery of motives behind Norway massacre

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Mystery of motives behind Norway massacre


On social network sites such as Facebook, he described himself as a Christian, a conservative and a crusader.

Others might have different words for the 32-year-old Norwegian who has admitted carrying out the country’s worst massacre since World War II.

It is clear that Anders Behring Breivik had developed extremely radical right-wing views.

On the day of the attacks, Breivik reportedly put online a 1,500 page manifesto in which he set out a rambling assault on Islam, multiculturalism and Marxism.

The document sets out how he decided to act in Autumn 2009, although the idea and initial planning had been some years in the making.

The account details how two years ago he started a farming business, enabling him to procure six tonnes of chemical fertiliser without arousing suspicion. The material went towards the explosives used in Friday’s bomb in Oslo.

He had also joined a shooting club, allowing him to get permission to hold firearms.

Anders Behring Breivik now reportedly claims there were “two more cells” in his organisation. He had previously claimed to have acted alone.

Investigators will be probing his past, from his years spent in Oslo, to his membership of the right-wing Progress Party, which in elections two years ago became the second most important political force in parliament behind Labour, winning 22.9 percent of the vote and nearly 40 seats.

But Breivik was never more than a peripheral figure in the party and had ceased to be a member several years ago. This weekend the political mainstream was playing down the extent of extremism in Norway.

“Compared to other countries, I wouldn’t say that we have a big problem with right wing extremists in Norway,” said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

Although far right activity is said to have been on the rise, it would appear to have few reasons to thrive in Norway.

Unemployment is barely 3.5 percent; oil and gas revenues make the country one of the richest in the world.

But parts of the far right’s message have entered the political debate, with concern that Norway’s culture is threatened.

About a tenth of the country’s five million people are immigrants.

A Gallup poll in June found that more than half the population (53.7 percent) thought immigration should be stopped.

Fear Breivik may spark copycat attacks
Sébastien Miraglia, a researcher at Norway’s Defense Institute, spoke to euronews about reaction in Oslo.
euronews: How do you explain this new form of terrorism in country so prosperous and peaceful as Norway?
SM: “Well it’s too early to draw any definitive conclusions. This act will no doubt be linked to Norway’s socio-economic conditions, which are excellent incidentally.  The deep-rooted causes will be psychological looking at Breivik’s writings, and that’s why he published his work on the internet and made videos to attract attention.”
euronews: Can we criticise Norway’s security service for initially focusing on the Islamist threat, and under-estimating other extremists, like those on the far-right?
SM: “Two things must be recognised. First of all the Islamist threat is real in Norway.  Last year, the security services foiled an attack linked to international Islamic groups over Norway’s involvement in Afghanistan and Libya.
Norway’s security service believe the extreme-right pose only a small threat so their priority has been limited to prevention. They’ve wanted to prevent other movements from becoming more dangerous, however they’ve also raised risk level slightly due to concerns over the European economic crisis and rising immigration in Norway.”
euronews: So is the extreme-right a more serious threat in Norway compared to other Scandanavian countries?
SM: “The fear now is that Breivik will inspire a series of copycat attacks.  His manifesto is already on the internet and it contains a detailed guide as to how to carry attacks.  That’s why his hearing today was closed to avoid giving him the oxygen of publicity and to prevent him communicating with any possible accomplices.”
euronews: He wanted an open court session, didn’t he?
SM: “Clearly, his target was to attack Otoeya and Oslo and have a public trial. He even wanted to appear  in his uniform, his uniform for hunting marxists as he called it.”
euronews: As you live in Oslo, can you tell us how Norweigans are coping with these tragic events?
SM: “That can be translated in three words – shock, incomprehension and emotion.  The most important thing for Norweigans now is to be united, to avoid useless debates, for example the time police took to arrive at the island – even if it’s being widely discussed in the media. People have accepted the police’s explanation.”
euronews: Sébastien Miraglia, researcher at Norway’s Defence Institute, thanks for joining us.

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