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Analysis: Questions over far-right link in Norwegian attacks | Reuters

(Reuters) - A report that Norway's bomb and gun rampage may be the work of a far-right militant confronts Europe with the possibility that a new paramilitary threat is emerging, a decade after al Qaeda's September 11 attacks.

One analyst called the attacks possibly Europe's "Oklahoma City" moment, a reference to American right-wing militant Timothy McVeigh who detonated a truck bomb at a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people.

Police forces in many western European countries worry about rising far-right sentiment, fueled by a toxic mix of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry and increasing economic hardship.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 23rd, 2011 at 01:29:37 AM EST
"New" paramilitary threat?

In which fictional alternative universe is right-wing assassinations a new and surprising development? The only thing about this massacre that doesn't fit the bog-standard post-war right-wing assassination pattern is that he went after a large number of mid-value targets rather than a few high-value targets (Palme, Dutschke, Kennedy, MLK, etc.).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jul 23rd, 2011 at 07:05:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He could have caught Gro Harlem Brundtland and/or Stoltenberg depending on the timing of the attack.

I am focusing on this

[Utøya's] detractors call it a breeding ground for a relatively small clique of would-be power mongers.
regarding the motivation for the choice of targets. Also, it's a perfect way to strike terror into the hearts of Labour sympathisers. And the bombs in the city centre were a perfect diversion of attention and first responders away from the real target.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 23rd, 2011 at 07:56:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only thing about this massacre that doesn't fit the bog-standard post-war right-wing assassination pattern is that he went after a large number of mid-value targets rather than a few high-value targets

Hm, I don't know about that. The OAS terror campaign to break the Evian agreements, Bologna station bombing, Oklahoma bombing, Baruch Goldstein's massacre in the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Oktoberfest attack in Munich, David Copeland's nail bomb attacks in London, Austria's Franz Fuchs the letter bomber, the Gypsie killers in Hungary, the Nijvel gang in Belgium, the Shankill Butchers in Northern Ireland, any number of lethal skinhead attacks on immigrants and minorities and homeless? If we go beyond nominal right/left and include nominally leftist extreme nationalists, there are also the acts of ETA or splinters of the IRA.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jul 25th, 2011 at 08:37:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would argue that most of these are attacks on large numbers of low-value targets (that is, ordinary civilians of no particular political affiliation). Going after party activists in addition (or even in preference) to the leadership is a new development.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jul 25th, 2011 at 09:22:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would argue that most of these are attacks on large numbers of low-value targets

I wanted to argue that the bog-standard post-war right-wing assassination pattern is to hit on mid- or low-value rather than high-value targets. As for a distinction between low and mid value target, looking at examples other than indiscriminate killings (Algeria, Bologna, Munich), do you think that from the racists' point of view, party activists are of higher value than people of the wrong colour of skin or ethnic group or religion?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jul 25th, 2011 at 09:31:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If terror and a strategy of tension is the aim, yes.

At the Bologna or Oslo level, racist extremists aren't out to terrorize immigrants (there are skinheads for that), but the intelligent, well-meaning elements of society they would like to shake out of the tree.

The aim of the Oslo attacks (whether one-man or group-organized) is to disrupt the apparent solidity of social institutions and interaction.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jul 25th, 2011 at 09:46:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently Breivik wrote that
once you decide to strike, it is better to kill too many than not enough, or you risk reducing the desired ideological impact of the strike. Explain what you have done (in an announcement distributed prior to operation) and make certain that everyone understands that we, the free peoples of Europe, are going to strike again and again.


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 25th, 2011 at 10:10:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You also shouldn't discount the simple numerical impact of losing a hundred members of your youth organisation. If he had gone after the smaller coalition partner, he would have pretty much wiped out the core of their next generation. That would have been crippling a few years down the road. With the SocDems he bit off more than he could chew in that department, though.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jul 25th, 2011 at 01:31:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A kill ratio of 100 to 1 is pretty good in the political warfare department...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 25th, 2011 at 01:44:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not if your targets outnumber you by a thousand to one.

Organisational and institutional depth can't be circumvented by any single act of direct action. Which is why the first rule of successful direct action is to stay alive and at large - something you very nearly automatically forfeit if you start deliberately killing people in a modern industrial society with proper statistical services and forensic experts.

This is why political assassinations, aside from being fundamentally morally repugnant, are strategically unsound. Unless you are operating in either a very favourable media environment or a police state where a dissident's chance of remaining alive and at large is not materially affected by killing people, because dissidents are hunted with greater diligence than murderers in the first place.

Neither the left nor the right in Norway meets any of these objective criteria, even if one were deranged enough to believe that the Norwegian constitution is sufficiently repugnant to merit assassination as a political tactic. Which latter claim is, in case it needs to be said, crazy talk.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jul 25th, 2011 at 09:40:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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