On July 22nd 2011, Norway experienced the worst massacres since the Nazi occupation during World War II. A total of 77 people, most of them youngsters attending the summer camp of the Social Democratic Youth League (AUF), as well as some civil servants and bypassers in the government locations in Oslo, were slaughtered in these terrorist actions.
The culprit was a Norwegian fascist, Anders Behring Breivik (32), with social roots in the better-off class district of Western Oslo and a former member of the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet), an ultra liberalist right-wing party with an electoral base of around 20 percent.
«Our answer is more openness, more democracy». Such were the words expressed by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (Social Democrat) after the fascist onslaught on July 22nd 2011. A similar atitude was expressed in the massive popular flower manifestations in Oslo and other cities. A whole world was baffled by this mild response to the diabolical act that had shocked the whole nation. People who never had taken part in any sort of demonstration, on their own initiative brought flowers and took to the streets saying «we will not be silenced, nobody will take our rights of thought and speech away from us». The seething rage amongst the people might in this situation easily have turned into calls for revenge, demands for massive strengthening of the police and their weaponry and authority at the expense of democratic rights. But this did not occur.
The Prime Minister’s idea of openness and democracy is radically different from how the popular masses conceive these words. This has become clear a year later. For the government and the ruling elite, openness and freedom apparently applies mainly to racist and fascist views and concepts, which have been widespread by the media. Fascist organizations are still allowed to operate, not only in social media, but also in public manifestations. Although Breivik appeared to have acted on his own, there is rich evidence that he had established broad connections through social media and otherwise with islamofobic, racist and nazi organizations throughout Europe. He was also in close contact with the fascist English Defence League (EDL). Ideologically, he was not in the least a «lone wolf».
Despite this experience, fascist and racist organizations are free to operate. One could say that Norway seems to have learned nothing whatsoever from the 22 July tragedy.
A just verdict
On August 24th 2012, after a more than two months long court trial, Breivik was eventually convicted for the killings. The court proceedings were thorough and a number of eye-witnesses gave touching and heart-breaking testimionials concerning each individual victim and his or her last minutes.
Taking the bourgeois democratic legal framework into account, the verdict was as fair as one could expect. Breivik was sentenced to the ultimate punishment, which is 21 years and successive imprisonment. However, the court proceedings and the public debate have shed embarrassing light on a series of shady circumstances and scandals involving the police, the secret police, politicians and government officials.
During the first hours after the explosion in the Government complex in Oslo, while the attacker was still unknown, the press and media and right-wing parties were preparing their headlines stating that «islamist terrorists» were to blame. Social media were full of hateful statements, and a number of immigrants from muslim countries were harassed and threatened on the streets.
As soon as it was clear that the terrorist actions continued on the island of Utøya some 30 miles off Oslo, and that the mass murderer was an ethnic blonde Norwegian dressed up in a police uniform, the atmosphere rapidly changed. Although the killer’s political past and his ideological agenda rapidly was revealed (he also revealed it himself by posting his fascist «Manifesto» on the web prior to the onslaught), forces were put into motion claiming that the culprit simply was a «lunatic», a solo-player with a difficult childhood who simply had lost his grip on reality.
Fascist or just a «lunatic»?
Throughout the entire court proceedings, this was the claim of the General Attorney and his staff, supported by a couple of appointed phsyciatrists. But this claim was not accepted by the public, and a heated debate compelled the court to appoint a new team of psychiatrists. Their conclusion was the opposite of the former. They concluded that the culprit was sane, and undoubtably inspired by his fascist ideology.
This was important because the mental state of the assassin is crucial when it comes to the question of conviction in the Norwegian legal system. If in doubt, the court is compelled by law not to sentence a person considered to be insane or mentally ill. Instead, such a person would be sent for compulsory psychiatric treatment and considered irresponsible of his own actions.
The popular opinion as well as the report from the second group of psychiatrists eroded any doubt from the judges. Breivik was therefore convicted as fully responsible of his actions. He did not appeal the verdict, he has all along argued that his detailed diabolical plan of action was ideologically based on his concept of the need to fight «multi-culturalism» and «cultural Marxism» with all possible means.
Mass media utilized as a tribune for fascist propaganda
During the trial, the killer was given extensive opportunity to «explain» his ideological concept besides describing his ill-deeds in detail. This opportunity he had prepared for, and he utilized it to the maximum, orchestrating a propaganda show for his fascist concepts, anticipating that they would reach a wide public. Although obviously a narscissist and fanatic, nothing in his appearance or wording gave proof to come from an insane person. On the contrary. The speech of the defendant Breivik was no more «insane» than the testimonies of Göring and all his Nazi collaborators in the Nürnberg trial.
Although many statements in the trial were not broadcast, the press found it «necessary» to transcribe every word of the hour-long propaganda speech of Breivik and make sure that millions of readers might absorb his «arguments».
The Communist platform (KPML) responded by sending a well-founded complaint to the ethical organ of Norwegian press and media, PFU, pointing out that the (bourgeois) press has trodden on its own ethical guidelines by promoting ideas and concepts that incite hatred against groups and individuals. Furthermore, the KPML accused the press and media for its own and the Norwegian government’s disregard of the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965), ratified by the government of Norway. This declaration, among other things, in Article 4 obliges that the state parties
«(a) Shall declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and also the provision of any assistance to racist activities, including the financing thereof;
(b) Shall declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination, and shall recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law; » http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cerd.htm
Of course, the «ethical organ» of the press found no reason whatsoever to criticize the reprint of fascist propaganda in the mass media. According to them, it was their duty to inform the public. As far as the obligations following the UN convention are concerned, the PFU did not even bother to consider this point of the complaint.
Fascism on the rise
Fascist organizations have never been able to gain strength in Norway, because the working class and the progressive left resolutely have chased them when they have shown their face. Nevertheless, there have been some incidents of fascist and racist killings in the past 30 years. KPML and other organizations demand that fascist and nazi organizations are banned. However, organizations of racist and nazi type are still not illegal in Norway. On the contrary, in the aftermath of the July 22 killings, these groups have increased their activities. Many of them have put on a new face, saying they are «anti-jihadists and anti-muslims». A couple of these small groups had the nerve to stage a demonstration in the city of Stavanger the day after Breivik was sentenced. Naturally, there was a strong anti-rascist and anti-fascist manifestation protesting this provocation. However, hundreds of police and helicopters ensured that the racist and fascist organizers might benefit from «openness and democracy».
The role of the police
The court proceedings and other investigations have proven that the police rescue action on the Utøya isle was chaotic, lacking leadership and coordination. While the media reported from the scene from helicopters, the police were unable to launch their own chopper. They also delayed in requiring aid from the Air Force helicopters. However, here we must point out that these resources were also very limited, partly because a number of helicopters and personell are allocated to the NATO occupation forces in Afghanistan!
Had the police been on the spot thirty minutes earlier, some 20-40 young persons might have been spared from being slaughtered.
Besides the ordinary police, the Norwegian Secret Service (PST) is yet again scandalized. Irrespective of their active surveillance, the PST never «observed» that Brevik was a dangerous individual, in spite of his active posting on fascist and anti-jihadist web-sites and also in spite of the fact that he ordered chemicals and other materials for producing his bomb online from Poland and elsewhere.
Yet again it was revealed that the PST has «a blind right eye». Their sole concern is the «extreme left» (who never have planned or performed any kind of terrorist act in Norway) and the so-called islamist threat.
The two-faced ‘red and green’ government
To sum up, the official claims of «openness and democracy» are in part a hoax, as are the official statements against racism. The truth is that the events on 22 July will be used to militarize the police and diminish the sharp distinction between civilian and military state force. The truth is that Norway has adopted the EU Data Directive, which allows extensive surveillance of ordinary citizens. The truth is that Norwegian troops for ten years have been waging brutal war against the Afghan people in the name of «democracy». The truth is also that Norwegian asylum policy is a racist policy. Young refugees coming to Norway are allowed to stay, but no longer than until their 18th birthday. When this day arrives, they are brutally expelled back to their country of origin, irrespective of whether they have family, relatives or sustainable living conditions there or not. Finally, the ugly truth is that Norway still does not respect the UN convention and the UN committee recommendations that compel Norway to ban racist and fascist organizations.
Considering these facts and the two-faced government signals, no wonder that xenophebia and hatred is allowed to thrive amongst broad sections of the people. It is clearer than ever that the struggle against fascism and xenophobia has to be waged along two fronts; against the fascist organizations as such, but also against the state that gives them shelter. The latter shows a lenient stand towards fascism, while at the same time making use of the terrorist threat to gain support for further militarization and fascisation of the state.
The government speaks warmly of tolerance for minorities, ideas and concepts. In this it clearly includes tolerance of fascism and racism, precisely the one ideo-political factor that rejects and excludes tolerance of any kind.
Among the lessons from July 22nd are these: The bourgeois state machine always protects the privileges of the rich and of the system itself, but it is incapable of giving protection to ordinary citizens when they are in jeopardy. Secondly, in the struggle against fascism in order to preserve democracy, the working class and the people can never put faith in the state and its apparatus, they must wage this struggle relying on their own forces.
See also: Fascist killings in Norway: The massacre of the Knight Templar