Norway gunman wanted 'European civil war'
by Daniel Mason
The man who has confessed to carrying out the twin terror attacks that killed 93 people in Norway on Friday, and called for a civil war in Europe to bring an end to multiculturalism, appeared in an Oslo court today – an hour after the country held a minute's silence in memory of his victims.
Thirty-two-year-old Anders Behring Breivik has admitted being behind the bombing in central Oslo which led to the deaths of seven people, and the shooting spree at a youth camp on the island of Ut°ya, where 86 died before the gunman was arrested. But he denies criminal responsibility for the acts of terrorism, which according to his lawyer he described as "gruesome but necessary".
The court will hold the hearing in private. According to reports, the prosecution have asked for Breivik to be handed eight weeks pre-trial detention. Breivik, who published a 1,500 page manifesto outlining his extreme nationalist ideology and calling for a European civil war to rid the continent of cultural Marxists and Muslims by the year 2083, asked to be allowed to wear a uniform in court. He will not be required to make a plea today.
Europe's politicians have roundly condemned the attacks. The President of the European Parliament described the events as an "unimaginable tragedy," adding: "It is shocking how one can inflict so much evil." The chairman of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Latvian foreign minister Audronius A×ubalis, said: "This attack raises concerns about security – not just in Norway, but also everywhere." Meanwhile the European Union's law enforcement agency Europol has said it will prepare a task force to help investigate non-Islamic threats in Scandinavia. The Polish EU presidency has called a meeting of Council of the European Union working groups on fighting terrorism, with representatives from Norway invited.
Breivik's manifesto, published online, made reference to the Knights Templar as well as European right wing groups including the anti-Muslim English Defence League and the anti-immigrant Dutch Freedom Party. In the document Breivik claimed a civil war involving military shock attacks and pan-European coups d'Útat will end in 2083 with the execution of cultural Marxists and the deportation of Muslims. The former British Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and the President of the European Commission JosÚ Manuel Barroso were among those named as targets. Breivik described the EU as "organised treason".
Since the attacks right-wing parties across Europe have sought to distance themselves from Breivik's actions. Geert Wilders, of the Dutch Freedom Party, said that Breivik was a "violent and sick character". And in France Marine Le Pen, the leader of the anti-immigrant National Front, said her party had "nothing to do with the Norwegian slaughter, which is the work of a lone lunatic who must be ruthlessly punished". But immigration remains a contentious issue for politicians across Europe – anti-immigrant parties have made electoral gains in recent months, and moderate leaders including the Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron have said in speeches that multiculturalism had failed.
Blanka Kolenikova, an analyst at IHS Global Insight, said the attacks raised questions about the future of multiculturalism in Europe. She said: "Breivik's attacks are now closely connected to nationalism and the rejection of multiculturalism, but the perpetrator does not seem to be a nationalist in the traditional sense." She added: "It appears that Breivik saw himself as part of a larger European – or even Western European – movement against multiculturalism. His attack was politically motivated in a sense, to 'punish cultural traitors' who allowed multiculturalism to develop in Norway, as well as in other European countries."
She said: "In recent years, not least amid the lingering impact of the global economic crisis and increased immigration, far-right and populist parties have become increasingly popular across Europe. In some countries, such parties have seen unprecedented parliamentary entries, while in others, the parties have seen their public support rocket. Despite condemning and distancing themselves from Breivik's actions, the ideologies and impact on the public of such parties could become a subject of scrutiny."