[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Anders Breivik -- unlike his 92 (and counting) victims -- is still very much alive and with us, so we will no doubt hear more from the man as his eventual trials progress to explain why he embarked on the worst terrorist attack in Norway's history on Friday.
And he is already explaining himself through his attorneys:
Breivik's lawyer, Geir Lippestad, said the 32-year-old accepts responsibility for his actions.Moreover, Breivik already created an intentional record, perhaps to leave behind should he not survive the attacks, explaining his motives, as we noted yesterday in discussing his online postings.
"He thought it was gruesome having to commit these acts, but in his head they were necessary," Lippestad said.
Breivik claimed that he acted alone, wanting to attack Norwegian society in order to change it, Sponheim said. But police say the investigation still open to the possibility that Breivik had help.
Now there's more: namely, a pair of manifestoes. The first one is a 1,500-word document he claims he worked on for nine years, titled "A European Declaration of Independence" (application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document - 4.45 MB). The second is a video, the entirety of which appears below the fold.
From Canada's National Post:
Written under the name Andrew Berwick but believed to have been authored by the terror suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, it calls for a violent right wing revolution across Europe “before our major cities are completely demographically overwhelmed by Muslims.”Breivik believed his rampage was the means to "market" these ideas -- and no doubt they will gain many more readers than they ever would have. Having read and reviewed them, however, I'm fairly confident that the only thing he'll have achieved is to permanently discredit views like his -- which in fact are fairly widespread on the Right, both in Europe and in the USA.
The lengthy text, which is written entirely in English and displays a singular obsession with Muslims, is focused on European countries but also mentions Canada several times. It cites Canada as a country that uses hate speech laws “to silence infidels” who criticize Islam.
The author claims to have spent nine years and hundreds of thousands of Euros on the manifesto. “Breivik’s goal with the book appears to be to convince others of his worldview and draw others to the cause,” the U.S.-based SITE said.
The book, as well as a video in which Mr. Breivik appears holding an automatic weapon, were both titled “2083 – A European Declaration of Independence.” The white supremacist manifesto ends with a sign off that is chilling in retrospect. “I believe this will be my last entry. It is now Fri July 22nd, 12.51.”
Breivik's manifestoes remind me a great deal of the manifesto left behind by an American right-wing terrorist who tried to embark on a similar rampage targeting as many liberals as he could kill, but who was considerably less successful: Jim David Adkisson, the Knoxville church shooter, who exhorted his readers to "Go Kill Liberals". His manifesto was functionally the logical absurdio ad reductum of the hatred spewed daily by the Fox News talking heads and radio pundits whose works filled his library -- whose wording it rather closely reflected in the leadup to the exhortations to violence.
Likewise, Breivik's work is largely a regurgitation of ideas and claims that have been circulating on the Right for a long time, including mainstream sources such as Fox News and Andrew Breitbart. There's nothing original here -- except that he, like Adkisson, simply takes the "logic" (as it were) of the cultural warriors he parrots and ratchets it up the next logical step into violent action.
Chip Berlet has been analyzing the written manifesto, and has some keen observations:
Breivik thought Cultural Marxists=multiculturalists=Islamization of Europe. This racist right-wing conspiracy theory is tied to the Islamophobic "Demographic Winter" thesis. In his online posts, Breivik considered himself a cultural conservative and condemned "Cultural Marxism." The idea of "Cultural Marxism" on the political right is an antisemitic conspiracy theory claiming that a small group of Marxist Jews formed the Frankfurt School and set out to destroy Western Culture through a conspiracy to promote multiculturalism and collectivist economic theories.Breivik's video is really just a recap of his written manifesto:
Now comes the hard part: Convincing authorities, once again, that right-wing extremist terrorism really is a problem worth addressing adequately -- both in Europe and the USA. As the Hindu Times reports, the problem has been steadily worsening in Europe and has been largely ignored:
Europol's 2010 report, in fact, presented a considerably less sanguine assessment of the situation. Noting the 2008 and 2009 arrests of British fascists for possession of explosives and toxins, the report flagged the danger from “individuals motivated by extreme right-wing views who act alone.”The same could be said of American authorities, including the Obama administration, which actually cut its Homeland Security unit devoted to tracking right-wing extremism.
The report also pointed to the heating-up of a climate of hatred: large attendances at white-supremacist rock concerts, the growing muscle of fascist groups like Blood and Honour and the English Defence League, fire-bomb attacks on members of the Roma minority in several countries, and military training to the cadre.
Yet, the authors of the 2011 Europol report saw little reason for alarm. In a thoughtful 2008 report, a consortium of Dutch organisations noted that “right-wing terrorism is not always labelled as such.” Because “right-wing movements use the local traditions, values, and characteristics to define their own identity,” the report argued, “many non-rightist citizens recognize and even sympathize with some of the organization's political opinions”— a formulation which will be familiar to Indians, where communal violence is almost never referred to as a form of mass terrorism.
Thomas Sheehan, who surveyed the Italian neo-fascist resurgence before the 1980 bombings, arrived at much the same conclusion decades ago. “In 1976 and again in 1978,” he wrote in the New York Review of Books, “judges in Rome, Turin and Milan fell over each other in their haste to absolve neo-fascists of crimes ranging from murdering a policeman to ‘reconstituting Fascism' [a crime under post-war Italian law]”.
“When it comes to fascist terrorism,” Mr. Sheehan wryly concluded, “Italian authorities seem to be a bit blind in the right eye.”
The problem may well originate with the media, which have steadfastly ignored the problem, thereby creating no political constituency for addressing it. That may be the place to start pushing for a solution as well -- especially before we get our own homegrown Anders Breiviks, acting out to defend white America from immigrant invaders.