Moral Low Ground

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Right-Wing Christian Terrorist Anders Behring Breivik Kills at least 92 in Norway Bomb and Shooting Attacks

A right-wing extremist with fundamentalist Christian views killed at least 92 people in a pair of terror attacks in Norway, CBS and the Associated Press report.

Anders Behring Breivik is in police custody and cooperating with investigators following his day of slaughter yesterday. The 32-year-old surrendered to a SWAT team that stormed the island of Utoya, where he’d gone on a shooting rampage that left no less than 85 mostly young people dead.

But before that, Breivik had detonated a powerful bomb in the heart of Oslo, the capital, which killed at least seven people. The blast rocked ripped through the high-rise government building which housed, among many other things, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s office. The AP reports that Breivik had purchased six tons of  ammonium nitrate fertilizer prior to the attack. CBS reports that he allegedly ran a company, GeoFarm, which specializes in growing “vegetables, melons, roots and tubers,” and which would have given him access to chemical fertilizers that can be used to make bombs.

A visitor from New York told the AP that the scene reminded him of the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. Victims were “just covered in rubble” in a “fog of debris,” said Ian Dutton.

As Oslo reeled from the powerful and deadly bomb blast, news began to trickle in of a massacre on the nearby island of Utoya, where Breivik slaughtered scores of young people attending a Labour Party summer retreat. Dressed in a police uniform, Breivik went about his grisly massacre using automatic weapons and handguns. Panicked campers fled into the water to escape the hail of bullets; many drowned.

One 15-year-old witness said that when she saw Breivik in his police uniform she thought she was safe. But he was calling people to him then shooting them dead right before her very eyes. “I saw so many dead people,” she told the AP. “He first shot people on the island. Afterward he started shooting people in the water.” Hiding behind a rock the shooter was standing on, she “could hear his breathing from the top of the rock.”

Another witness, 21-year-old Dana Berzingi, told the AP of victims who “pretended they were dead to survive,” but Breivik would finish each one off with a shotgun blast to the face. “I lost several friends,” Berzingi said.

A SWAT team arrived after about a half an hour and apprehended Breivik.

The attacks were the deadliest in Western Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people. It was the deadliest day in modern Norwegian peacetime history.

National Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that Breivik’s online activities “suggest that he has some political traits directed toward the right, and anti-Muslim views, but whether that was a motivation for the actual act remains to be seen.” Police officials say he posted on Christian fundamentalist websites.

Some initial reports, as they so often do, pointed to Islamic terrorism. But Norwegian police say that Breivik appears to have acted alone and “it seems like this is not linked to any international terrorist organizations at all.” Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said the attacks showed that people shouldn’t jump to conclusions about who is responsible for acts of terrorism, and that most of Norway’s political violence comes from the extreme right. “This is a phenomenon that we have to address very seriously,” he told the AP.


 

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