My heart goes out to the people who were massacred yesterday in Norway and their families. Here I will not make any conclusions as to who did the shooting and why, but I wanted to get this situation in writing before much of the information disappears, as has happened in the past with other terrorist acts.
Some of the earliest news reportage came from the blog "Gates of Vienna," which was translating news out of Norway as it was happening (excerpted below).
...Although the source of the blast is unclear, Al-Jazeera TV notes that Norwegian prosecutors on Tuesday filed a terrorism charge against Mullah Krekar, founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam....
NRK is reporting that an unknown group called "Helpers of the Global Jihad" have posted a message that this is only the beginning of the reaction to Norwegian periodicals publishing the Muhammed cartoons, according to Andrew Boyle, a journalist in Norway.
Corriere Della Sera reports (Italian) that the terrorist group Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami has claimed responsibility for the explosion in Oslo with a message on a jihadi forum, blaming the presence of Norway in Afghanistan and "insults" to the prophet Muhammad.
Al Qaeda claims responsibility on Twitter (Swedish).
More on Twitter (Swedish site):
Abu Suleiman al-Nasser: "Today, Norway was targeted in order to serve as a lesson and example for the rest of the nations of Europe."... Notorious online extremist Abu Suleiman al-Nasser has also now responded to reports of a possible terrorist attack in Oslo, Norway.
The New York Times quotes the Islamist group taking responsibility.
In addition to all these media outlets reporting the carnage as an Islamist terrorist attack was CBS News:
A group called "Helpers of Global Jihad" has taken responsibility for the bomb which ripped open buildings, including the prime minister's office, in Norway's capital, CBS News has learned.
It is apparently the same local shadowy extremist group that the Stockholm bomber in December 2010 had said he was connected to...
The Guardian UK also reported the attack as being Islamist-related:
....Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor at the Observer, says a jihadist group is most likely to be behind the blast...
The Voice of Russia also expressed its suspicion that jihadis were responsible:
The head of the Centre of Northern Europe of the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yuri Deryabin, shared his opinion of possible motives for the double terrorist act in Oslo with The Voice of Russia.
"This is undoubtedly a terrorist act but not against a certain politician. It was meant to intimidate the public and to prove that al-Qaeda is alive even after Bin Laden has died. Why Norway? Because it is taking an active part in the NATO operation in Afghanistan. As for the incident at the youth camp outside Oslo, the reasons are not so obvious. The suspect has been arrested and is answering police questions. I do not rule out that he has links with an international terrorist organization like al-Qaeda. Not all Islamists are Muslim nationals. The second version is that the suspect who is an ethnic Norwegian is a mentally unbalanced person...."
The Sydney Morning Herald likewise reported the theory that the attack was committed by Islamic terrorists:
Investigators are already working on the premise that Islamist radicals inspired by or linked to al-Qaeda are among the most likely perpetrators of the Oslo terrorist attacks.
The hallmark of a "mass casualty, no warning" attack with multiple targets is a typical tactic of the terrorist group and those who seek to emulate it, experts said. The attack also had echoes of the bomb and commando-style attacks in Mumbai, India, in 2008, albeit on a much smaller scale. Those attacks were carried out by the group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has links to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Once the blond Nordic-looking terrorist started shooting on Utaya Island, there was talk of "homegrown" Islamic terrorists and sleeper cells - a logical conclusion considering that Islamists have repeatedly threatened Norway, including in one foiled bomb plot last year, for which the plotters were just charged in early July. Norway had only just recently charged the "radical cleric" Mullah Kreker for his death threats after they threatened to deport him.
At the same time, an organization called Ansar Al Jihad Al Alami, or The Helpers of the Global Jihad, has also taken responsibility for the attack. The group is a Kurdistan-based affiliate of Al Qaeda led by Abu Suleiman Al Nasser, someone who has repeatedly threatened attacks on Scandinavian countries, and most recently claimed responsibility for a defused bomb in Helsinki in June. Today, Al Nasser wrote that "Norway was targeted in order to become a lesson and example for the rest of the countries of Europe." The attacks, he said, were a demand for "the European countries to withdraw their armies from the land of Afghanistan and to halt their war on Islam and Muslims." He added, "We renew our warning again to the countries of Europe and we say to them, 'Answer the demands of the Mujahideen, as what you see is only the beginning and what’s coming is more.'"
Many of these agencies and individuals later changed their articles to reflect the developing "lone nut right-wing anti-immigrant extremist" theory. Fast forward to a few hours later, and The Atlantic Wire has changed its site to include the following disclaimer:
From BBC News: "A terrorism expert tells the BBC that Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or the Helpers of the Global Jihad, a terror group that claimed responsibility for the explosion in Oslo, was not behind the attack." Previously, a New York Times story cited a terrorism expert who mentioned that the group claimed credit for the attack. But the paper also noted: "It is not uncommon for terrorist groups to advance claims of responsibility for high-profile attacks, only to have the claims prove to be spurious."
Some wag might suggest that the accusation of Islamists deliberately lying in this manner is "Islamophobic."
In any case, the latest news from Yahoo is that the "lone nut" bought six tons of fertilizer--an amount that one might think would elicit some suspicion in consideration of the Oklahoma City bombing, as well as that fertilizer bombs are evidently a favored Islamist method of massacre. Moreover, instead of one "lone nut," it is reported that "police investigated witness accounts of a second shooter."
This current attack does in fact resemble the McVeigh situation, as pointed out by Gates of Vienna:
I’ve read several accounts that describe the Oslo murderer as "a Norwegian Timothy McVeigh." The crime in downtown Oslo does resemble the Oklahoma City atrocity--a powerful vehicle bomb, possibly a fertilizer bomb, detonated near a government building for the purpose of causing mass casualties. Then, after initial alarm about Islam, we hear that the alleged perpetrator is a crazed right-wing zealot bent on killing as many of his fellow citizens as possible.
Yes, Oslo and Oklahoma City definitely have a lot in common in this regard.
But one thing many people seem to forget--and which they may never have known, thanks to the American government’s actions and the media spin that followed--is that there almost certainly was an Islamic terror connection to the Oklahoma City bombing.
I refer, of course, to the book The Third Terrorist by Jayna Davis. Ms. Davis did exhaustive research, examined all the evidence, interviewed the witnesses who had seen the third conspirator, tracked down the connections, and identified the Iraqi who helped Timothy McVeigh build the bomb. Her work provided more than enough evidence to satisfy Occam’s Razor: there was a third terrorist.
McVeigh’s bomb was thought to have an "Islamic signature"--that is, a bomb of that strength and type was considered almost certain to have been constructed or designed by Muslim terrorists who had the experience and know-how to do the job. It was believed that no domestic terrorist group had the ability to construct such a powerful fertilizer bomb.
That's why government officials made their early announcement of Islamic terrorism--which, for reasons of their own, they backed away from a few days later. "White supremacists" and "militias" were the preferred culprits, and not Muslims, so the third terrorist had to disappear down the memory hole.
And so he did, as I discovered this afternoon when discussing the horrific events with several Europeans. They had never heard of The Third Terrorist.
So don't rule Islam out of the Oslo picture, not just yet. Think of the level of destruction the killer managed to accomplish--how unreasonable would it be to assume the backing and assistance of people who have proved themselves proficient at making very, very powerful bombs and detonating them in major cities?
No matter what conclusions the Norwegian government comes to, look for a "second terrorist." Or a third, or a fourth…
Here is how it stands now: "Authorities say he posted on Christian fundamentalist websites and reportedly held right-wing, anti-Muslim views. He was also once a member of the youth wing of a rightist party." It seems that, as the McVeigh bombing essentially destroyed the America militia movement, the European "rightwing" anti-Islam, anti-immigrant movement may also be stopped in its tracks now by this attack.