August 1, 2021

A far-right extremist killed 77 people in Norway. A decade on, ‘the hatred is still out there’ but attacker’s influence is seen as low


In a nationwide memorial deal with at Oslo Cathedral simply two days after the assaults, Stoltenberg referred to as for “extra democracy, extra openness, and extra humanity.”

Talking with CNN’s “Amanpour” present in an interview to mark the anniversary, Stoltenberg — now NATO secretary-general — repeated that message and applauded the way in which Norwegians had responded. However, he warned, the “hatred remains to be on the market.”

Final month, the College of Oslo’s Middle for Analysis on Extremism (C-REX) revealed a sequence of analyses Breivik’s long-term affect.

The writer of one of many reviews, Dr. Jacob Aasland Ravndal, informed CNN it appeared extra restricted than media protection would counsel. “There was after all plenty of concern after the assaults that they’d generate copycat assaults,” he stated. However “considerably surprisingly,” he stated, there have not been many clear-cut circumstances of direct inspiration from Breivik.

One of many extra obvious hyperlinks is to the taking pictures assault in Munich, Germany on July 22, 2016, through which an 18-year-old German-Iranian man killed 9 individuals. The rampage was carried out on the fifth anniversary of the Norway assaults and the attacker had been “speaking rather a lot about Breivik,” Ravndal stated. “However he was additionally deeply impressed by many different figures,” Ravndal stated, a few of them school-shooters.
The opposite apparent case is that of Brenton Tarrant, the Australian far-right terrorist who live-streamed an assault through which he killed 51 Muslim worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019.

However though Tarrant claimed to have been impressed by Breivik, investigators discovered that he had began his planning a while earlier than he learn Breivik’s manifesto. “So even there, you possibly can query how a lot of an influence Breivik had,” Ravndal stated. Tarrant’s personal manifesto may be very completely different from Breivik’s, together with in its politics, he added.

Rightwing extremist Anders Behring Breivik arrives in court on April 16, 2012 for the start of his trial.

The Counter Extremism Venture (CEP), an NGO that combats extremist teams, stated in a press release Thursday that survivors of Breivik’s assaults had voiced concern concerning his “standing as an inspirational determine amongst far-right extremists.”

“[This status] underlines the necessity for larger motion to focus on the dissemination of recognized extremist propaganda with clear hyperlinks to violence on on-line platforms,” stated David Ibsen, CEP govt director. “The continued presence of far-right views on-line, together with larger publicity to extremist content material over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, is of specific concern.”

Based on Ravndal, analysis signifies that inside Norway the far proper has not gained a lot enchantment general because the assaults and has been unable to prove supporters in any numbers on the streets.

“In fact in Norway, as all over the place else, on-line exercise has grown over these 10 years,” he stated. “However whether or not that displays a considerable improve of far-right exercise or just mirrors the expansion of social media on the web, that is very troublesome to say.”

Capturing spree

On that quiet summer time day in 2011, Breivik drove a van full of a selfmade fertilizer bomb into Oslo and parked it exterior a authorities workplace. A couple of minutes later, it exploded, killing eight individuals, injuring many extra and damaging a number of buildings.
Firefighters work at the site of the explosion near government buildings in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on July 22, 2011.

Breivik, in the meantime, had set off by automotive on the 25-mile journey to Utoya Island, the place a Labour Get together summer time youth camp was happening. Posing as a police officer who was checking on safety following the Oslo assault, he caught a ferry to the island and carried out a taking pictures spree through which 69 individuals died — most of them youngsters. Many others had been significantly wounded.

Throughout his trial, Breivik boasted of being an ultranationalist who killed his victims to combat multiculturalism in Norway, saying he acted out of “necessity” to forestall the “Islamization” of the nation beneath the ruling center-left Labour Get together.
A court docket ruling meant his testimony was not televised, denying him an opportunity to broadcast his views to a large viewers. However Breivik believed his writings would encourage right-wing terrorists to observe in his footsteps.
Police and emergency services gather following the massacre at a summer youth camp on July 22, 2011 on Utoya Island, Norway.
Whereas components of his three-book manifesto had been lifted from different sources, such because the writings of “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski in the US, Breivik additionally detailed his meticulous, years-long planning and gave strategic and operational recommendation.

Based on Professor Matthew Feldman, director of the UK-based Centre for Evaluation of the Radical Proper (CARR), Breivik’s doc can nonetheless “simply” be discovered within the darker reaches of the web regardless of efforts to take away it.

That manifesto was “paradigmatic,” Feldman stated, “not simply because it confirmed what one particular person can do when it comes to the horrific lack of life” but in addition in its focusing on of Muslims and what Breivik referred to as “cultural Marxism.”

Much more importantly, Feldman stated, Breivik’s case confirmed the risks posed by lone-wolf actors who self-radicalize on-line via networks of like-minded people and perform their preparations for violent assaults on-line, making them very laborious to detect.
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On the identical time, Feldman stated, there was the “gradual rise, some would name it mainstreaming, of right-wing extremism,” helped partly by publicity on right-wing media platforms. “For some it was laid naked on January 6 in the US [in the assault on the Capitol] nevertheless it’s one thing that is been gathering tempo slowly however steadily in current a long time,” he stated.

Regardless of this backdrop, Breivik’s actions and manifesto have gained restricted traction, in line with Ravndal.

His evaluation for C-REX signifies that “at first the far-right throughout the board rejected him,” stated Ravndal. A web-based assist community that was established for Breivik later collapsed. It was solely with the emergence of on-line boards like 4chan and 8chan that Breivik as soon as once more began to get optimistic mentions, Ravndal stated.

“The principle discovering, all in all, each in terms of ways but in addition for political, ideological assist, is that it has been surprisingly little,” he stated. “It has been doable to seek out assist, however luckily lower than one may need nervous about initially contemplating the excessive demise toll and all the eye these assaults obtained globally.”

Societal influence

As we speak, the controversy has shifted in components of Norwegian society to broader ideological questions, Ravndal stated.

Some — significantly within the youth wing of the Labour Get together — really feel that there has not been a reckoning with the nation’s far-right motion, the largest participant through which is the populist, right-wing Progress Get together, he stated.

Breivik had been a member of the Progress Get together when he was youthful however the celebration distanced itself from him after the assault.
In a joint assertion revealed on the celebration’s web site earlier this month, celebration chief Sylvi Listhaug and deputy leaders Ketil Solvik-Olsen and Terje Søviknes pushed again towards any suggestion that the Progress Get together was not united with different Norwegians in rejecting Breivik’s attitudes and actions.

“We should all stand collectively towards violent extremism — no matter whether or not it comes from the ‘far proper’, ‘far left’ or excessive interpretations of faith,” the assertion stated. “Solely the extremists will win if we exclude one another from the grief after July 22 and weaken the unity across the wrestle for democracy, freedom of expression and equality.”

Labour has promised that if it wins energy in elections this September, it’ll arrange a brand new fee to have a look at radicalization.

There’s additionally debate about whether or not the assault must be interpreted as an assault on Norwegian society as an entire, or as an assault on the Labour Get together particularly, Ravndal stated. “As we speak, some inside the Labour Get together maybe really feel that that a part of the story has been uncared for a bit.”

Leader of the youth organization of the Labour Party (AUF) Astrid Hoem, left, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, center, and leader of the Norwegian Labor Party Jonas Gahr Store, right, lay flowers at a memorial on Utoya island, on July 21, 2021.

Feldman considers that Norway’s response was formed by the sense that the perpetrator was “considered one of their very own,” as had been the victims, with no sense of “otherness” to pressure a extra multicultural response.

“Norway basically requested itself this query, and it is a very legitimate one … ‘How did Norwegian society produce such a monster?'” he stated. “It is a very inward-looking query.”

In contrast, he stated, New Zealand took a way more world strategy because it checked out what led as much as the Christchurch assaults. This was partly as a result of Tarrant, an Australian, had focused worshipers at mosques, a lot of whom had been foreign-born.

On the identical time, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s response, together with sporting a hijab to satisfy survivors and kinfolk of these killed, was central in bringing all New Zealanders collectively in assist of the victims as fellow residents, he stated.
Simply weeks later, New Zealand collaborated with France to supply the “Christchurch Name” — a dedication by governments and tech firms to remove terrorist and violent extremist content material on-line — and subsequently labored with the US and United Nations to maintain the difficulty on the agenda, Feldman stated.

He hopes to win additional commitments to counter extremist content material on-line at an occasion he’s concerned with in Bergen, Norway, subsequent month.

Members of the public pay their respects near Utoya Island on July 24, 2011 in Norway.

Breivik’s ideology ‘remains to be on the market’

Talking to CNN earlier this month, Stoltenberg spoke of the shock he felt as he realized the dimensions of the horrors perpetrated by Breivik — and the private unhappiness it introduced, since he knew most of the victims.

He additionally stood by the message he delivered to the nation because it was nonetheless reeling from the July 22 assaults.

Norway's then-Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, left, embraces Eskil Pedersen, leader of the Norwegian Labour Youth league and a survivor of the Utoya attack, on July 23, 2011.

“I nonetheless imagine that our reply was the fitting one,” Stoltenberg informed CNN. “[Breivik] wished to assault our free, open democratic societies. So the very best response is extra openness, extra democracy, as a result of then we show that he’s not successful, we’re successful.

“He demonstrated hatred. One of the best response to hatred is love. So … I actually welcomed the sturdy message from the individuals of Norway, as (we) have seen additionally in lots of different international locations which have been attacked, that we get up for our values.”

That however, Stoltenberg doesn’t imagine that Breivik has been fully defeated.

“He’s convicted, he’s in jail. However his ideology, that’s nonetheless on the market. And subsequently we have to proceed — I believe we by no means shall be within the place the place we will say that we have now received the combat, we will shut the chapter preventing towards extremism.”

Since 2011, Norway has carried out measures to guard — so far as doable — towards such assaults sooner or later, Stoltenberg stated. And, he added, Brevik — whose 21-year sentence may very well be prolonged sooner or later if he nonetheless poses a risk — has misplaced in a single key respect.

“We’ve got to grasp that the aim of this assault was to vary Norway basically. And … sure, after all, this shall be a part of Norway’s historical past,” he stated. “It is going to be a part of who we’re so long as we exist. However basically, it has not modified who we’re.”

CNN’s Frederik Pleitgen contributed to this report.



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