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The terrorist attack by Norwegian Christian nationalist Anders Behring Breivik in Oslo and at the youth camp on Utoya Island raises the specter of violent right-wing domestic extremism in Europe and echoes glimmers of an equivalent trend in the United States.


Norway Attack: Right-Wing Extremism Emerging?

European governments facing possibility of new threat — ‘equivalent of Oklahoma City’


More details of Norway rampage emerging (NBC “Today,” July 24, 2011) — Bits and pieces of information from investigators in Norway are starting to form a picture of 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, the suspect in the Friday, July 22 bombing in Olso and mass killing of youths at an island camp, where victims from 12 to 19 years of age were hunted down for 90 minutes by a man who surrendered without resistance when police arrived. NBC’s Martin Fletcher reports. (03:46)

Analysis by William Maclean
Security correspondent

July 22, 2011


LONDON — 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-Qaida’s Sept. 11 attacks.

One analyst called the attacks possibly Europe’s “Oklahoma City” moment [link added], 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 [link added], fueled by a toxic mix of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry and increasing economic hardship.

But violence, while sometimes fatal, has rarely escalated beyond group thuggery and the use of knives.

That may have changed in Oslo and on the holiday island of Utoya on Friday. Seven people were killed in a bombing in the capital — Western Europe’s worst since the 2005 London al-Qaida-linked suicide attacks that killed 52 people — and at least 80 in a shooting rampage by a lake.

Independent Norwegian television TV2 reported on Saturday that the Norwegian man detained after the attacks had links to right-wing extremism. …

“If true this would be pretty significant — such a far-right attack in Europe, and certainly Scandinavia, would be unprecedented,” said Hagai Segal, a security specialist at New York University in London.

“It would be the European/Scandinavian equivalent of Oklahoma City — an attack by a individual (with extremist anti-government views, linked to certain groups) aimed at the government by attacking its buildings/institutions.” …

A report by European police agency Europol on security in 2010 said that there was no right-wing terrorism on the continent in that period. …

In a speech in September 2010, Jonathan Evans, the Director-General of Britain’s MI5 Security Service, cited a notorious far-right militant in a passage describing the security outlook for the country.

“Determination can take you a long way and even determined amateurs can cause devastation. The case of the neo-Nazi David Copeland, who attacked the gay and ethnic minority communities with such appalling results in 1999, is a good example of the threat posed by the determined lone bomber.”

Copeland struck three targets in London with nail bombs. Three people were killed and scores were wounded at a gay bar in Soho. It followed attacks against the Muslim community in Brick Lane, east London, and a market in Brixton, south London. …

Full story

Slide presentation: Island shooting spree, bomb blast in Norway

In this photo taken by Vergard Aas, a Norwegian crime reporter who responded to the scene of a mass shooting on Utoya Island, Norway, victims lie near the shoreline about one hour after police say a man dressed as a police officer gunned down 80 youths. (Photo credit: AP via St. Petersburg Times)


Related report

Norway’s Mass Killer Pursuing Anti-Islam Crusade

Image: Anders Behring Breivik
This undated image obtained from Facebook shows Anders Behring Breivik, the 32-year-old suspect questioned by Norway’s police over twin attacks on a youth camp and the government headquarters (Photo credit: AFP — Getty Images)

By Patrick Lannin and Johan Ahlander

July 24, 2011


OSLO — The blond killer of at least 93 people in Norway sees himself as a righteous crusader on a mission to save European “Christendom” from a tide of Islam.

In a rambling, plagiaristic manifesto posted just before his killing spree began, Andres Behring Breivik says the Knights Templar, a medieval order of crusading warriors, lent modern renown by Dan Brown’s best-sellers, had been re-formed in London in 2002. …

The killer’s statement may show a mind influenced by the fantasy imagery of computer games, but he also includes an 80-day diary chronicling meticulous preparations for his onslaught. …

On June 11 he says he prayed for the first time in a long time. “I explained to God that unless he wanted the Marxist-Islamist alliance and the certain Islamic takeover of Europe to completely annihilate European Christendom within the next hundred years, he must ensure that the warriors fighting for the preservation of European Christendom prevail.” …

Large chunks of the 1,500-page document are cut and pasted from other far-right, anti-Islam documents on the Internet.

Some are copied from writings by “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, notorious in the United States for killing three people and wounding more than 20 with letter bombs sent from 1978 to 1995.

Breivik changed some words to stress what he sees as the dangers of mixing cultures.

Where the Unabomber wrote, “One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism,” Breivik’s text puts “multi-culturalism” instead of leftism.

Breivik says he is not against immigrants who integrate and reserves much of his fury for a liberal European political establishment he views as promoting Europe’s destruction.

Though the document shows the killer as a fantacist, his anti-immigration ideas are not so far from mainstream European politics, not least in Norway, where the populist, anti-immigration Populist Party is the second largest in parliament. …

Full story


Excerpts from Norway attacker’s diary

A combination of images shows Anders Behring Breivik, the man identified by Norwegian police as the gunman and alleged bomber behind the attack on government buidlings and the Labour party youth camp in Oslo on July 22, 2011. Breivik told police he acted alone in the attack he had planned over many months. (Facebook / YouTube / AFP — Getty Images via


3/8/2012 Update

Norway mass killer Anders Behring Breivik charged with terrorism (Reuters, March 7, 2012) — The Norwegian anti-Islam militant whose bomb attack and shooting massacre shocked this small country last summer was charged on Wednesday with terrorism and the premeditated murder of 77 people as officials prepared for a trial to start next month. Prosecutors said they would initially seek a sentence of psychiatric care for the admitted killer but might demand 21 years in prison — Norway’s nominal maximum — if an initial diagnosis of psychosis is contradicted by a second opinion. Anders Behring Breivik, 33, has admitted carrying out a July bomb attack that killed eight people at government  headquarters in Oslo and a gun massacre hours later that killed 69 people at a Labor Party summer camp. … “Of the 69 who were killed [on Utoya Island], 67 were struck by lethal gunshots,” prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh said in the first such public accounting. “Two died in falls or drowning without being shot.” … Full story


8/24/2012 Update

Self-confessed mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik speaks with a lawyer at a court in Oslo on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. (Photo credit: Odd Andersen / AFP — Getty Images)

Norway massacre gunman Anders Breivik declared sane, gets 21-year sentence (The Associated Press and Reuters, Aug. 24, 2012) – A Norwegian court has ruled that confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was sane, deciding he was criminally responsible for the massacre of 77 people last summer. Reading the ruling, Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen said that “in a unanimous decision … the court sentences the defendant to 21 years of preventive detention.” However, such sentences can be extended under Norwegian law as long as an inmate is considered dangerous. Experts have said Breivik is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Norway doesn’t have the death penalty. … Full story


Related report on this site

Norway Massacre Renews Focus on U.S. Rightwing Extremism
(July 25, 2011)


Chronicle of the rise of rightwing extremism in America

» Michele Bachmann’s Muslim Brotherhood Conspiracy (July 18, 2012)

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann gave credence to attempts by former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy to connect Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, to the al-Qaida terrorist network in what Washington Post opinion writer Dana Milbank described as “a twisted line from Abedin all the way to al-Qaeda.” (Photo credit: Charlie Riedel / Associated Press via Star Tribune)

» The Real Trouble with Bachmann (July 21, 2010)

Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann at a rally in Washington against Barack Obama’s healthcare reform. (Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

» Extremism Rises in America (June 16, 2010)


Why ‘The Rise of the New Right’ Matters (June 15, 2010) — Chris Matthews discusses “Rise of the New Right.” (01:46)

» Oklahoma City Bombing: 15 Years (April 19, 2010)


Timeline: Key Dates in U.S. Militia Movements

Highlights from a timeline of right-wing militia actions compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes. The center says militias have resurfaced in the last few years after being below the radar for nearly a decade.

» Government Wary About Reporting Rightwing Extremism (April 17, 2010)

“By mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead.” (David Frum, prominent conservative and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, in an article about the health-care vote titled “Waterloo.”)

» Tea Party Fomenting Rebellion? (April 5, 2010)


Who comprises the Tea Party? (MSNBC “The Daily Rundown,” April 5, 2010) — Republican Pollster David Winston takes an extensive look at the voters who identify themselves with the Tea Party. (03:31)

» Sovereign Citizen Ultimatum to Governors (April 3, 2010)


Governors threatened (Associated Press, April 2, 2010) — The FBI is warning police across the country that an anti-government group’s effort to remove governors from office could provoke violence. The group, “Guardians of the Free Republics,” has sent menacing letters to some 30 governors. (01:08)

» Christian Militia Terror Plot (March 29, 2010)


Analyst: Militias are ideologically diverse (MSNBC, March 29, 2010) — Chip Berlet, a senior analyst with Political Research Associates who has written extensively about rightwing populism, militias, and the patriot movement, discusses with Rachel Maddow. (06:52)

» Bachmann and Violent Extremism (March 25, 2010)


Battle lines drawn over health care law (NBC Nightly News, March 24, 2010) — Anger over health care reform, erupted into over-the-top rhetoric and threats were made against members of Congress who voted the bill into law. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports. (03:16)

» Pentagon Plot Political Paranoia (March 5, 2010)


Anger at America turns deadly (MSNBC “The Dylan Ratigan Show,” March 5, 2010) — Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center offers his take on the gun attack outside the Pentagon, populist anger, and anti-government violence. (05:53)

» Extremism Explodes in America (March 3, 2010)


Number of hate groups reach record level (MSNBC “The Dylan Ratigan Show,” March 2, 2010) — The number of extremist groups in the United States exploded in 2009 as militias and other groups steeped in wild, antigovernment conspiracy theories exploited populist anger across the country and infiltrated the mainstream, according to a report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center. According to the report, militias and other extremist groups increased 244 percent in 2009. Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center and radio host Mark Williams of the Tea Party Express discuss. (08:33)

» Bachmann Conspiracy Nation (Feb. 20, 2010)

Town Hall Face (Photos: Landov, AP, Getty Images / Newsweek)

» Suspicious Plane Crash in Texas (Feb. 19, 2010)


Joe Stack’s final act
(NBC Nightly News, Feb. 18, 2010) — As investigators and journalists raced to piece together a picture of the suspected pilot who crashed into a Texas building early Thursday, a story of growing frustration and rage emerged. NBC’s Pete Williams reports. (02:01)

» Condemning Beck and Bachmann (Nov. 19, 2009)

A year of growing animosity (Anti-Defamation League, Nov. 2009) — Since the election of Barack Obama as president, a current of anti-government hostility has swept across the United States, creating a climate of fervor and activism with manifestations ranging from incivility in public forums to acts of intimidation and violence. Michele Bachmann arguably is the modern face of an emerging brand of American protofascist Christian nationalism being spawned by the “perfect storm” of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and the election of America’s first African-American president.

» Bachmann Rebuked for Nazi Image (Nov. 12, 2009)

Sign displayed at U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s “House Call on Congress” anti-health care reform rally in Washington, D.C., Nov. 5, 2009. The sign reads, “National Socialist Health Care: Dachau, Germany — 1945.” (Photo credit: Lee Fang / ThinkProgress)

» Anger in America (Oct. 31, 2009)

» Bachmann Heads Teabaggers (Sept. 13, 2009)

Rep. Michele Bachmann spoke at a Tea Party at Lake George in St. Cloud after a town hall meeting, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009. (Jason Wachter / St. Cloud Times)
Rep. Michele Bachmann speaks at a Tea Party at Lake George in St. Cloud, Minn., after a town hall meeting, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009. (Photo credit: Jason Wachter / St. Cloud Times)

Invitation to Tea Party headlined by Michele Bachmann

» Economy and Obama Volatile Mix (April 16, 2009)

Hate groups including neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan have grown since Barack Obama was elected president. An April 2009 Homeland Security intelligence estimate warns that right-wing extremists could use the bad state of the U.S. economy and the election of the country’s first black president to recruit new members and incite anti-government violence. (Image: NBC News)

» Bachmann Call for Armed Revolt? (March 24, 2009)


“I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if were not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.”
— U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), March 21, 2009

» Obama, Economy Fuel Hate Groups (Feb. 28, 2009)

A cross and swastika are burned at an event called Hated and Proud in Nebraska in July 2008.
A cross and swastika are burned at an event called Hated and Proud in Nebraska in July 2008. (Photo credit: Southern Poverty Law Center / CNN)

» Obama Racist Backlash (Nov. 16, 2008)

Image: Obama racisim
University of Alabama professor Marsha L. Houston posted a message against racism on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008 after someone defaced a previous poster of President-elect Barack Obama and his family with a death threat and racial slur in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Racial incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama, including schoolchildren chanting “assassinate Obama,” racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars, and Black figures hung from nooses, are shattering the post-election illusion of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America. There have been “hundreds” of incidents since the election, many more than usual, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes. (Photo credit: Jay Reeves / AP)



TheUptake_Avidor.jpg Immelman vs. Bachmann picture by Rifleman-Al
Image: Ken Avidor — Dump Bachmann / TheUptake

One Year Ago — July 24, 2010

Bachmann Threatens Witch Hunts

One year ago today, I reported that Rep. Michele Bachmann said if Republicans win control of the House of Representatives in the November 2010 midterm election, “all we should do is issue subpoenas and have one hearing after another” to “expose all the nonsense that is going on.”


Two Years Ago — July 24, 2009

Bachmann Rated ‘Most Vulnerable’

Two years ago today, on July 24, 2009, I reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee added U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann to its list of most vulnerable incumbents for 2010 in the NRCC’s “Patriot Program,” while the Swing State Project rated Bachmann as being in “real danger” of losing her seat in the next election. [She has since enjoyed a dramatic reversal of fortune.] I also noted that a survey of 25 nations conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center in spring 2009 found that positive public attitudes toward the United States had surged in many parts of the world since President Barack Obama’s election, to levels not seen since before President George W. Bush took office in 2001.


Three Years Ago — July 24, 2008

Campaign Against Michele Bachmann: Day 10

Three years ago today, on July 24, 2008 — the 10th day of my 2008 campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District — I met with residents on Little Rock Lake, near Rice in Benton County, to learn about the lake’s persistent water quality problems.

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