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Breivik ‘knew al-Qaeda members’

Newspaper VG has revealed that the suspect for the Oslo bombing and Utøya shootings, Anders Behring Breivik, wrote a string of unchallenged posts on the web forum of the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, FrP) youth-wing’s website in 2002 and 2003 in which he put forward conspiracy theories and claimed to know “two people that have a connection to al-Qaeda.” Meanwhile, over 40 hours of questioning have revealed further details of Breivik’s plans, with police now nearly certain that he acted alone.

The Postgirobygget building, where newspaper Aftenposten and other offices are located. Breivik has disclosed that he considered bombing the building because of his dislike of the media. PHOTO: Kjetil Ree

Breivik was a member of FrP for 10 years before 2007, holding the position of Oslo West deputy leader in the party’s youth-wing, Fremskrittspartiet Ungdom (FpU). Between 2002 and 2003, Breivik wrote around 100 posts on FpU’s online forums.

Predicted ‘civil war’
According to newspaper VG, who gained access to the old discussions, Breivik claimed to have had contacted with “two people that have a connection to Al Qaeda that have their base in Norway,” something that he claimed the police and government had “hushed up.” “If I know of two cases, there are at least 10!,” he continued. In other claims, Breivik suggested that the government had asked the police intelligence services to deliberately withhold information on Muslim extremism in order to continue their immigration policies. He predicted a “civil war” or the establishment of a Muslim-only “district/country” in Europe because Muslims would become the “majority,” stating that although there were “many good sides to Islam,” the religion “provides especially fertile ground for terrorism.”

He also published an “ABC guide to weaken the left,” in which he declared that “the fight has already begun” against various trade unions and gave timed predictions for their demise. He also attacked the “socialist press”, and the “brainwashing institutions” that Norwegian schools and universities had become. A philosophy professor at the University of Bergen, Lars Fredrik Svendsen, described the guide to VG as a “politically paranoid” attempt to “appear like a serious political strategist.” As well as the “guide,” Breivik also published advice to aspiring Frp politicians and posted job adverts on behalf of the organization.

FpU: ‘we should have reacted’
Among those who engaged Breivik in discussion were Oslo city council member Jøran Kallmyr and the current leader of FpU, Ove Vanebo.

Vanebo told VG that if members were actually reading the material posted by Breivik at the time, they “should have reacted,” even if “it is easy to be wise after the event.” He claimed that he himself “gives a clear message if someone expresses themselves in a very strange or extreme way,” stressing that he would have “made contact with” Breivik about what he had written had he been the leader at the time. He evidenced a recent event where a local FpU leader had said that he wanted to see a newspaper commentator die, at which point Vanebo states that he “rang him and told him that such statements are completely unacceptable.” Describing Breivik as “an out of touch with reality lunatic,” Vanebo added, “his opinions were and are unacceptable in FpU.”

The leader of FpU at the time, Trond Birkedal – who is facing charges for sexual assault after a sex scandal earlier this year – would not comment to VG about why he did nothing at the time.

Oslo city council member Kallmyr suggested that the reason he had not reacted himself was that Breivik “was definitely not a central person and had no influence in FpU,” claiming that he could not remember Breivik. FpU has now published any material they can find that was posted by Breivik, with Vanebo telling VG that the organization “has nothing to hide.”

‘Polite’ suspect ‘dreaded’ attacks
The questioning of Breivik continues and has now reached more than 40 hours in total. His lawyer, Geir Lippestad, had claimed to Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that his client was “unsure” whether he would continue to be so forthcoming in his exchanges with the police, but the police themselves rejected this, describing Breivik as still cooperative and “polite.” One of the officers interrogating Breivik, Asbjørn Rachlew, revealed that the police had not tried to “break” the suspect or be more confrontational as many in the media had reported, stressing that keeping Breivik’s cooperation with the questioning was important. He also revealed that Breivik had said that he “dreaded” carrying out the attacks, and realized that his demands to the police were “unreasonable.”

It has been revealed by VG that the suspect had considered the office building containing newspaper Aftenposten as a target because he felt that the Norwegian media had conspired to suppress negative information about immigration, but felt that too many civilians would have died from bombing it. Police have nonetheless told Aftenposten that Breivik has said that he had wished to bomb the government quarter earlier on on 22 July when more people were at work, but that he was delayed.

Acted alone
Despite previously insisting that he be examined by Japanese psychiatrists, Breivik has, according to his lawyer Lippestad who spoke to VG, informed his two Norwegian psychiatrists that “he wishes to cooperate with them further, and they have arranged four or five new meetings.” Lippestad also informed broadcaster TV2 that Breivik had expected to negotiate “directly” with members of the government about political power in the country after his attack.

Police spokesperson Christian Hatlo also confirmed to NRK that the police were almost certain now that Breivik acted alone. In addition, Aftenposten reported that Breivik had rejected the idea that he filmed his shootings on Utøya, despite evidence from witnesses and his manifesto suggesting otherwise. The police are nonetheless continuing to follow leads on both potential further suspects connected to the attacks and the use of a camera.

Views and News from Norway/Aled-Dilwyn Fisher
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