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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Helicopter delayed, Breivik bluffing

Oslo won’t be getting its second police helicopter, promised and funded after last summer’s terrorist attacks,  for several more months because of delays tied to mandatory bidding processes. Meanwhile, the massive police probe into the attacks suggests confessed terrorist Anders Behring Breivik was bluffing about claims he had a terrorist organization behind him.

Oslo's police helicopter won't be getting any back-up for several more months. PHOTO: Politi/Espen Strai

The police response to the terrorist attacks of July 22 has been under heavy criticism in months since, not least because their lone police helicopter allegedly wasn’t ready and dispatched when needed. Police quickly requested, and received, more funding shortly after the attacks to improve preparedness. Former Justice Minister Knut Storberget also arranged allocation of nearly NOK 30 million to lease an extra helicopter with round-the clock staffing in Oslo.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported on Wednesday, though, that the new helicopter won’t be in service until June at the earliest. Police have only now finished detailing the specifications needed for the special police helicopter, so it won’t be put out to bid until later this month.

Then it will take another five to six months to actually secure the helicopter and put it into service. “That means we will first have continuous round-the-clock preparedness from early summer,” Ole Vidar Dahl of the Oslo Police District told Aftenposten. New positions to staff the helicopter attracted 60 applicants, but none has been hired yet.

No evidence of Breivik’s alleged network
Meanwhile, police appear more confident than ever that mass murderer Breivik was acting alone when he bombed government headquarters in Oslo and then carried out a massacre on the island of Utøya. The attacks left 77 persons dead, scores injured and billions of kroner in damage.

Breivik has claimed all along that he acted as a “commander” in an organization called “Knights Templar” that was behind the attacks in the effort to battle the emergence of multi-cultural societies in Europe. Police say they have found no evidence of any such organization or network.

“With every day that passes, we are more certain that the network doesn’t exist,” Christian Hatlo of the Oslo Police District told Aftenposten earlier this week.

Breivik has told court-appointed psychiatrists, who have since controversially labelled him as insane, that he’s part of a military organizations that finances, plans and carries out operations. He has claimed the organization has two other cells in Norway and more in 11 other countries.

Police, however, after five months of intense investigation in cooperation with police in several other countries, have found no signs of such an organization, no evidence of alleged meetings Breivik said he had in London in 2002, no traces of other terrorist cells and no evidence that Breivik’s own alleged cell was “activated” by another.

Breivik’s defense attorney Geir Lippestad told Aftenposten that his client still insists the organization exists. He conceded, though, that he hasn’t seen any evidence of it either.

Breivik’s trial is due to start in the Oslo City Court on April 16. Debate continues over the court-appointed psychiatrists’ determination that he is insane, because it means Breivik can’t be punished with a jail term, and would be committed to a psychiatric institution instead.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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