Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

Norway confirms sense of calm and maturity in its handling of Anders Breivik case

Posted on 16 April 2012 | 4:04pm

I have been buzzing about a bit today, a meeting here, a meeting there, a few gaps in between, but through the day picking up bits and pieces about the trial of mass murderer Anders Breivik.

When I was in Oslo a few months ago, I blogged about the extraordinarily mature way that not just Norwegian politicians but members of the media and the public were handling the fall-out from this dreadful event.

As his trial opened today, that sense was strongly confirmed. It certainly sounded odd to a British ear to hear that at the start of procedings Brievik shook hands with the judge, the prosecutor and others involved. But then on came a solid Norwegian voice explaining that that is part of the court procedure in Norway, and it was important the normal ways of doing things were followed.

I heard an interviewer trying and failing to get a friend of a victim to slam the police and the politicians for the handling of the initial response, and instead heard a defence of the difficult decisions they had to make as a result of Breivik’s actions.

Then I heard that the leader of Norway’s Labour Party’s youth movement, who had been one of Breivik’s main targets, was spotted queueing with everyone else to get into the courtroom, not a security man in sight. Again, it was emphasised that it was the overwhelming desire of the Norwegian people, including those directly affected, not to let this massacre and the trial lead to a change in their way of life.

Of course the magnitude of the case, and the global interest, means there have been some changes, including the streaming of the case to courtrooms in other parts of the country, and the part televising of procedings. This means Breivik will get some opportunity to set out his so-called philosophy, though the judge can rule which parts are televised. But again, I heard a very persuasive interview with the prosecutor saying that it was important the court and the public had a sense of Breivik’s thinking, because it was ultimately what led him to commit the acts he did.

Meanwhile coincidentally a student sent me an email reminding me of how The Sun had covered the Utoya massacre in the first place … “NORWAY’S 9/11″ was the headline, with “‘AL-QAEDA’ MASSACRE” as the strap line in case the reader hadn’t got the message. When word got out that the gunman arrested was a blond, blue-eyed Norwegian man, the Sun was reluctant to drop the Muslim terrorist angle. The suspect arrested raised “fears that he was a homegrown Al-Qaeda convert.”

In some of the interviews and clips I have heard today, I have sensed something of a tension between radio hosts in the UK pushing the buttons designed to get interviewees to convey emotion, anger and fury and the usual stuff of the phone-in, and Norwegian guests being rather wonderfully matter of fact and calm about the whole thing.

  • Anonymous

    Well that does sound well played by the Norwegians, refusing to rise to the bait etc.
    Our politicians should be more like them, or more like they are when they are on this week and they are all relaxed and reasonable.

    Except you Alastair when you were taking a pasting off Portillo so you resorted to talking over the top of him and Neil let you! It worked anyway, all’s fair in love and war I suppose.

  • Ehtch

    Caught some of it on Sky News, and the disingenuousness was thick, as if the importance of this event was the news quality factor to them, rather than the event itself, as if such were stocks and shares of their air time.

    But on the base level, this was obviously a hellish thing to happen, on an incredible level with the bombing and then the shooting of young people miles away. It beggars belief. But it does show that Norway is an extremely mature society on how they have handled this terrible event, where hysteria reigns when anything close to this occurs in this country.

  • Kimsala

    I’m not a fan, but I liked your blog here. As a Norwegian UK resident, I find the UK media a bit OTT and scaremongery. I’m quite proud that the Norwegian media and justice system seems to be working. 

  • Michele

     The ‘pasting’ must have been in an edition while I was away.  Such a description is of course a subjective one and must have a reason for being what/how it is.

    Some of us remember Portillo’s ‘Nazi’ act at conference, his obsequious deference to Snatcher for so many years, his total surprise when he was rejected by his constituency and the fact that if his wife’s role was not what it is he might even be doing ‘workfare’ by now (for surely he wouldn’t have accepted any of the roles offered him at the Job Centre?).

  • Michele

    I hope sh*t is happening for the ‘Knights Templar’ that he visited in the UK re their apparent failure to warn anyone about this nutcase.

  • Michele

     I usually dislike the smart alec-type blaming that goes on after events such as this but I do hope something is happening about the ‘Knights Templar’ that he visited here (re whether they did or didn’t report his behaviour to anyone and then what?).

  • Olli Issakainen

    Anders Breivik was a member of Norwegian Order of freemasonry.
    He was not a “Christian fundamentalist”.
    Breivik is a rightwing nationalist who is against Islam and cultural Marxism.
    He says he belongs to Knights Templar organisation which was founded in April 2002 in London.
    Norway supports full Palestinian statehood. Norway is not a member of EU.
    Breivik has moral responsibility for killing 77 people.
    His actions were calculated. He appears to be sane – not paranoid schizophrenid.
    He seems to have been able to control his behaviour.
    But claims have also been made that what happened in Norway was a false-flag operation. Breivik might have been brainwashed.
    CIA had Project MKULTRA in the 50s and 60s. One aim was to create “Manchurian candidate” subjects by manipulating individual mental states.
    MKULTRA was followed by Monarch mind control programme using trauma-based mind control.
    Sirhan Sirhan is said to have murdered Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Yet Sirhan does not have a memory of assassination.
    His lawyers say that Sirhan was programmed by using hypnosis.

  • Richard

    But who is programming OLLI?

  • Richard

    But who is programming OLLI?

  • Ehtch

    Oh dear, our “marvellous” PM has been dragged into it, when Breivik said, I quote (via The Guardian – thanks);
    “Breivik: “Sarkozy, Merkel and Cameron have all admitted multiculturalism does not work”.
    Cheers Dave. Advice for Dave, stop putting your foot in your mouth as if your still in your nannies cot, making us look like idiots in the World.
    Seeing Blair on telly last night made me realise we have lost a lot, these idiots in Westminster government are right dicks, have no sensible vision at all for forecoming UK, no foresight whatsoever.

    Come back Tone, all is forgiven.

  • Ehtch

    Oh dear, our “marvellous” PM has been dragged into it, when Breivik said, I quote (via The Guardian – thanks);
    “Breivik: “Sarkozy, Merkel and Cameron have all admitted multiculturalism does not work”.
    Cheers Dave. Advice for Dave, stop putting your foot in your mouth as if your still in your nannies cot, making us look like idiots in the World.
    Seeing Blair on telly last night made me realise we have lost a lot, these idiots in Westminster government are right dicks, have no sensible vision at all for forecoming UK, no foresight whatsoever.

    Come back Tone, all is forgiven.

  • Miche

     Oooops I thought I’d deleted that one totally … Sh*t !

  • Miche

     Oooops I thought I’d deleted that one totally … Sh*t !

  • Miche

     They’ve actually been re-grouping since far longer ago than 2002.  One section has apparently even been granted NGO status at the UK while another has demanded the Pope stops apologising for history such as the crusades.

    One can even buy lickel badges supporting them (along with the BNP, EDL etc) on eBay.

  • Miche

     They’ve actually been re-grouping since far longer ago than 2002.  One section has apparently even been granted NGO status at the UK while another has demanded the Pope stops apologising for history such as the crusades.

    One can even buy lickel badges supporting them (along with the BNP, EDL etc) on eBay.

  • Michele

    I don’t see the point in dragging other conspiracy theories in to this, whatifs can’t be a defence.

    He offered himself up to people whose motives and tactics he knew about and admired.

  • Michele

    I don’t see the point in dragging other conspiracy theories in to this, whatifs can’t be a defence.

    He offered himself up to people whose motives and tactics he knew about and admired.

  • Michele

     Grrrrrr, that should read ‘NGO status at the UN’

    If true I wonder if the BNP and EDL etc are similarly rated there?

  • Ehtch

    Portillo does trains good though. He has found his vocation. I like Portillo, now. But that huge bash he had in Alexandra Palace for his own birthday, fortieth maybe, was stomach turning in its self-infatuation.

  • Anonymous

    You’ve lost it Olli, and no Mkultra didn’t tell me to say that.
    (Although would I know if they had? Twilight zone music du du du du, du du du du.)

  • Anonymous

    This was not meant to be a general defence of Portillo. It was a question time type moment where Alastair had made his argument, as had the other guest, and Portillo was making his. I forget the issue unfortunately, it would help explain if I remembered, but I had heard the argument Portillo was making before, probably not from him – I actually think Alastair realised this as well and realised his logic was about to be beaten and so steamed in and talked over the top of him and did everything he could to stifle Portillo’s argument, and as I said it worked. I should have said he prevented a pasting, it was wrong to give the impression he was already getting a pasting.

    I think it was on an economics matter. Alastair has readily admitted on this blog and elsewhere that he doesn’t know much about economics or banking, Portillo knows a bit more (though doesn’t have a deep knowledge of this.)

    I quite like Portillo these days on This Week, I wasn’t much of a fan of his back when he was a politician, though looking back its probably a shame that he didn’t become conservative leader, reckon he could have been better than Major and Cameron.

  • Michele

     Just for you reaguns – you aren’t on your own planet too are you? ;-)

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/portillo-rant-triggers-a-storm-in-the-forces-1577144.html

    Mr Portillo has certainly mellowed since being bounced out, I suppose anyone would!

  • Michele

     Just for you reaguns – you aren’t on your own planet too are you? ;-)

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/portillo-rant-triggers-a-storm-in-the-forces-1577144.html

    Mr Portillo has certainly mellowed since being bounced out, I suppose anyone would!

  • Anonymous

     That’s an easy one. It’s the Keynesian economists, the Roundtable idiots & the Socialists. Am I close? Tell me I am !

  • Anonymous

    Ha! To be honest I think that speech looks a lot better in hindsight. He was right to warn – the european union does want to develop its own armed forces, and as with everything else, take power bit by bit from sovereign nations – boil the frog slowly.

    However his macho SAS rhetoric was embarassing. He could have made his points in a different way, ie the SAS are formidable and respected, and will remain that way under British rule.

    I’m anti-EU but pro-Nato. I did think once that the EU could be a good idea – a giant, heavily-armed, free-trading democratic superpower. Unfortunately the real thing is anti-free-trade, less democratic than its constituent nations, and has feeble arms compared to Russia etc.

  • Gilliebc

    The Knights Templar organisation has been around for centuries.  Since medieval times or so I understand it to be.
    Maybe this group that Breivik says he belongs to is a revival or copy-cat group.

    I have also heard claims that what happened in Norway was a false-flag operation.  I don’t know tbh.  It does seem very odd that this one man was able to kill all those people without someone bringing him down physically.  He must have had his back turned at some point during this massacre or had to re-load his gun or guns.  Unless every single person was paralysed by fear, which would be understandable.  But usually someone has a go at the assailant in these life or death situations.

    Just as in many other occurrences , I doubt we’ll ever know the whole story or truth of this event.  I do think it could be possible that he was brainwashed or mind controlled.  It does happen a lot in the US and is well documented.  I didn’t know that fairly simple technique was used in Norway though!

    Breivik is more likely to be just a homicidal nutcase imo.  He looks weird.  Simple as that.

  • Gilliebc

    Reaguns, you are a nice bloke but you have much to learn!  Maybe you are still quite young perhaps?

  • Ehtch

    Thought it was education-education-education myself. Don’t be tempted by that carrot on the stick, ask politely where the carrot has come from. Hope I am making sense here.

  • Anonymous

    Gillie, it is rather that I went through my (rather short) conspiracy theory stage before moving to science and evidence and finding that most of these theories just don’t stand up. It was when I was “young” that I hadn’t heard all the counterarguments.

    Again I recommend Voodoo Histories by David Aaranovitch, and anything by Richard Dawkins.

  • Ehtch

    Furthermore, this makes interesting reading, a news article from The Independent’s archive,
    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/vanity-the-deadliest-sin-linda-grant-discovers-blowing-ones-own-trumpet-is-beyond-the-pale-in-modest-selfdeprecating-britain-1383431.html

    Interesting that Who’s Who doesn’t get much mention these days as some sort of higher echelon bible. Also indicates how society has moved more central in attitudes in the last eighteen years, due I think to the vast amount of people banging their fingers on a keyboard in front of a glowing tube/flatscreen, with a clever telephone connection plugged into the back somewhere.

  • Michele

     
    When will you grow out of being a wimp?

    Heaven forfend … shock horror …. could it still be your MO in real life too?

  • Michele

     ’Multi-documented’ doesn’t equate to ‘well’.
    Grassy Knoll territory might be entertaining for anyone that subconsciously wants to let a person off the hook but whoever else this person spoke to he is the murderer, the cynical barsteward that first set up a bomb in order to cause confusion and preoccupy those that might otherwise have reached him earlier on the island if more vehicles had been free, the inadequate that claimed to be saving the world from something worse than himself …. LOL.

    Who knows, had he been killed at the island the incidents might never have been linked and the bomb could have been treated as the coincidental act of another set of stupid ‘fundamentalists’ (although that’s a misnomer for implying obedience to an edict from other/s).

  • Michele

     Re your first para …. but that was the point, not what he was saying but how.

    None of us could see whether behind the podium he was complete with jack boots, would we have been surprised if so?

  • Anonymous

    Yep it was embarassing. The question is, did he believe that stuff at the time, but then mellowed? Or was he being disingenious at the time.

  • Michele

     He was being Snatcher’s OTT performing pet. 

    He has mellowed, the stuffing was knocked out of him by voters :-) 
    I’m not sure why he’s on This Week every single week …. 

    I found the edition from during my absence btw, your description of it was bizarre imhoo.

  • reaguns

    Alastair has been on it at least twice in the past few months – I don’t think the piece I was thinking of was in the last one. I was thinking of the piece where they were talking about Europe and AC panicked and jumped all over Portillo’s answer, I don’t think thats the one you are talking about?

    There was another one, one of my favourites, where AC, Portillo, Neil and the excellent Gillian Tett were all in full agreement over a Reagan style inquiry into banks.

    P.s. how do you get hold of archived ones?

  • Michele

     I’m sure AC’s last two appearances have been the one with GT and bagpipes (which I saw and which has been discussed) and the one on 22nd March (I’d departed on 20th).

    iPlayer and the programme’s own website are the routes to the archive.  This is a partial :
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17487006

  • reaguns

    Yep, can’t get full episodes though from weeks back on either site though right?

  • SueS

    I think the Norwegians have continued to show that maturity, reason  and respect for all concerned as the trial unfolded this week without any sense of minimising the horror of what happened.  Very very impressed.