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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Breivik had several more targets

Police are investigating who leaked confidential transcripts and reports of their questioning of confessed terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, in which he claims to have had several additional targets for attacks. Breivik also was prepared to take government officials hostage and then execute them.

The contents of many of Breivik’s claims under police questioning were published over 11 pages in Friday’s issue of newspaper VG, the day after 78 attorneys representing survivors of Breivik’s attacks and victims’ families received the confidential documents during a meeting with police and prosecutors. Some attorneys suspect that someone in their own ranks leaked the information to VG. Others weren’t so sure, and suspect VG had been given the documents earlier, given the time required to prepare all their stories and coverage.

Massive criticism
VG’s publication of the sensitive material was greeted with massive criticism from the legal and official community, not least because much it of may be upsetting to survivors, but it predictably attracted broad interest because of the content involved. VG editor Torry Pedersen claimed VG only published factual information that helps describe the sequence of events around the July 22 terrorist attacks. The newspaper, he said, is withholding Breivik’s detailed descriptions of how he carried out his massacre on the island of Utøya and his own words regarding his ideological viewpoints.

Breivik, according to the transcripts, had hoped the powerful bomb he set off at Norway’s government headquarters would topple the high-rise containing the Office of the Prime Minister and the Justice Ministry. When he realized the building was still standing, he proceeded with his “Plan B,” which was to head for Utøya and kill as many people attending the Labour Party’s summer camp as possible.

He also had three personal targets, whom he considered to be “Category A traitors” because of their liberal views on immigration: Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and the head of Labour’s youth organization AUF, Eskil Pedersen. Breivik was also prepared to tie them up and hold them as hostage while he read a prepared speech about his right-wing ideology and motives, before killing them.

Brundtland, however, had left Utøya before Breivik arrived. Pedersen fled on the island’s ferry as soon as the shooting started and Støre had been on Utøya two days earlier. He was at his summer home on Norway’s southern coast when the attacks occurred. Støre, who was in the northern city of Bodø on Friday announcing government strategy for the Northern Areas, refused to comment on Breivik’s plans to kill him.

‘Bonus program’
Breivik told police, according to transcripts obtained by newspaper Dagbladet, that he also had other targets including the Royal Palace in Oslo, the offices of Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), the newspaper Dagsavisen, the building occupied by the radical organization Blitz and the headquarters of the Socialist Left party (SV) and the Labour Party. He also had considered trying to bomb a Norwegian oil platform in the North Sea.

He considered the attack on Utøya “a bonus program” and told police he weighed it up against bombing NRK. He ended up opting for the massacre on Utøya, where he killed 69 persons.

Police officials said it was “unfortunate” that documents from their ongoing investigation had been made public, but they were prepared it could happen. “When we sent out these documents to 78 of 171 lawyers on the case, we were also careful to warn the survivors and victims’ families, plaintiffs and others involved,” Pål-Fredrik Hjort Kraby of the Oslo Police District told NRK. He said they would do what they could to find the source of the leak.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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